The European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) as governed by EU law and Swedish law : A study on a European Union legal form within the Swedish legal system

Sammanfattning: The thesis studies a European Union legal form for organisation from the perspective of EU law and Swedish law on associations (associationsrätt). The legal form in focus is the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), which was introduced by Council Regulation (EC) No 723/2009 of 25 June 2009 (the ERIC Regulation). The ERIC legal form allows states and intergovernmental organisations to join forces in an entity around the establishment and operation of a research infrastructure. One of the ERICs established is the European Spallation Source ERIC (ESS ERIC), which has its statutory seat and centre of operations in Sweden (Lund). The overarching purpose is to clarify the legal situation regarding ERICs and ERIC members under EU law and Swedish national law and to contribute to the understanding of ERICs as legal entities within these legal systems. This is achieved in two main ways. First, by discussing and analysing how ERICs are regulated in the ERIC Regulation and in the statutes of established ERICs. Secondly, by discussing and analysing to what extent rules governing other legal forms can complement the legal framework of ESS ERIC and other ERICs, which operate within the Swedish legal system. Examples of general legal forms which are recognised as associations under Swedish law are the company limited by shares (aktiebolag), the registered partnership (handelsbolag), the cooperative society (ekonomisk förening), and the non-profit member organisation (ideell förening). Entities operating within these legal forms are governed by Swedish association law. The thesis offers guidance to the applier of the law, including the CJEU and Swedish national courts, on how to approach a matter which arises in relation to an ERIC but is not regulated by the ERIC Regulation or relevant ERIC statutes. To that end the thesis approaches the ERIC legal form from the perspective of both EU law and Swedish national law and examines (i) whether EU law provides rules which govern the formation and organisation of legal entities that can apply to ERIC matters and (ii) whether ERICs can be assimilated to one or more Swedish legal forms and whether Swedish association law provides rules that can apply to ERIC matters. The thesis also contributes to the understanding of ERICs as legal entities by studying the statutes of all 23 ERICs that have been established and discussing the nature of their operations and essential organisational characteristics, as well as analysing how ERIC statutes regulate matters such as member liability and membership rights. The thesis puts a particular focus on the legal position of ERIC members. It discusses and analyses the rights and obligations of ERIC members under the ERIC Regulation and ERIC statutes and examines the extent to which EU law and Swedish national law provide legal rules that can complement ERIC legal frameworks by protecting the membership interest or by imposing obligations upon members.

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