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The coming years could see a shift away from company liquidation and towards more corporate recovery, following the recommendations of the European Commission.

In a set of principles published on March 12th, the Commission explained that it is keen to support honest entrepreneurship, including giving people a “second chance” if a business venture fails legitimately.

EU justice commissioner and Commission vice-president Viviane Reding said: “Businesses are essential to creating prosperity and jobs, but setting one up – and keeping it going – is tough, especially in today’s economic climate.

“With a growing number of firms facing financial difficulties across Europe, we need to rethink our approach to company insolvencies.”

The aim of the principles is to make it easier to restructure businesses as soon as financial difficulties are encountered, without burdensome court processes needed.

As a consequence of this, fewer company liquidations may occur in the years to come, but there could be a corresponding increase in corporate recovery activity.

Meanwhile, those whose businesses unavoidably fail could be given a second chance much sooner – and Ms Reding points out that Henry Ford is among those entrepreneurs of the past who failed at their first attempt, but met with substantial success second time around.