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of 20 June 2019 on preventive restructuring frameworks, on discharge of debt and disqualifications, and on measures to increase the efficiency of procedures concerning restructuring, insolvency and discharge of debt, and amending Directive (EU) 2017/1132 (Directive on restructuring and insolvency) (Text with EEA relevance) THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Articles 53 and 114 thereof, Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission, After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments, Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee zur Fussnote 1, Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions zur Fussnote 2, Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure zur Fussnote 3, Whereas: (1) The objective of this Directive is to contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market and remove obstacles to the exercise of fundamental freedoms, such as the free movement of capital and freedom of establishment, which result from differences between national laws and procedures concerning preventive restructuring, insolvency, discharge of debt, and disqualifications. Without affecting workers’ fundamental rights and freedoms, this Directive aims to remove such obstacles by ensuring that: viable enterprises and entrepreneurs that are in financial difficulties have access to effective national preventive restructuring frameworks which enable them to continue operating; honest insolvent or over-indebted entrepreneurs can benefit from a full discharge of debt after a reasonable period of time, thereby allowing them a second chance; and that the effectiveness of procedures concerning restructuring, insolvency and discharge of debt is improved, in particular with a view to shortening their length. (2) Restructuring should enable debtors in financial difficulties to continue business, in whole or in part, by changing the composition, conditions or structure of their assets and their liabilities or any other part of their capital structure – including by sales of assets or parts of the business or, where so provided under national law, the business as a whole – as well as by carrying out operational changes. Unless otherwise specifically provided for by national law, operational changes, such as the termination or amendment of contracts or the sale or other disposal of assets, should comply with the general requirements that are provided for under national law for such measures, in particular civil law and labour law rules. Any debt-to-equity swaps should also comply with safeguards provided for by national law. Preventive restructuring frameworks should, above all, enable debtors to restructure effectively at an early stage and to avoid insolvency, thus limiting the unnecessary liquidation of viable enterprises. Those frameworks should help to prevent job losses and the loss of know-how and skills, and maximise the total value to creditors – in comparison to what they would receive in the event of the liquidation of the enterprise’s assets or in the event of the next-best-alternative scenario in the absence of a plan — as well as to owners and the economy as a whole. (3) Preventive restructuring frameworks should also prevent the build-up of nonperforming loans. The availability of effective preventive restructuring frameworks would ensure that action is taken before enterprises default on their loans, thereby helping to reduce the risk of loans becoming non-performing in cyclical downturns and mitigating the adverse impact on the financial sector. A significant percentage of businesses and jobs could be saved if preventive frameworks existed in all the Member States in which businesses’ places of establishment, assets or creditors are situated. In restructuring frameworks the rights of all parties involved, including workers, should be protected in a balanced manner. At the same time, non-viable businesses with no prospect of survival should be liquidated as quickly as possible. Where a debtor in financial difficulties is not economically viable or cannot be readily restored to economic viability, restructuring efforts could result in the acceleration and accumulation of losses to the detriment of creditors, workers and other stakeholders, as well as the economy as a whole. (4) There are differences between Member States as regards the range of the procedures available to debtors in financial difficulties in order to restructure their business. Some Member States have a limited range of procedures that allow the restructuring of businesses only at a relatively late stage, in the context of insolvency procedures. In other Member States, restructuring is possible at an earlier stage but the procedures