The Davignon group is the ‘high-level expert group on workers’ participation and involvement’ established in 1996 and chaired by Etienne Davignon, president of the Société Générale de Belgique and former Vice-President of the European Commission. A particular concern of its remit was to help progress the European Company Statute (ECS), which had been deadlocked for some 25 years. The group published its final report in May 1997. It recommended that priority should be given to free negotiation between the parties directly concerned on the issue of worker involvement. Only if the parties fail to reach an agreement should a set of reference rules come into application. Such rules should cover both information and consultation, and the representation of workers in the relevant company bodies. An extensive process of interaction followed the publication of the group’s report. The Statute for a European Company was approved in 2001 ((ECS) Regulation 2157/2001), and supplemented with a separate Council Directive 2001/86/EC with regard to the involvement of employees.