Yet another piece in the jigsaw of legislation controlling corporate governance, accountancy and auditing, aimed at boosting investor confidence in European Union business, is coming into focus as upgrades are being considered to the 4th and 7th Directives on risk management and internal control for unlisted companies.Those enhancements cover both off-balance-sheet arrangements and company transactions with related parties such as family members.

Addressing an international forum in Brussels, Alex Schaub, director general of the European Commission's internal market section, brought to light several commission proposals that are now under consideration in the European Parliament. Previous general European financial legislative upgrades - from International Financial Reporting Standards (the EU's mandatory accounting guidelines for listed companies) to Basel II capital adequacy rules for banks, and the 8th Directive on auditing, among others - have applied only to the EU's 7,000 listed companies.

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