Electronic Federal Announcement and Information Platform (EVI)
As of 1 July 2023, all announcements that previously had to be made in the “Official Gazette to the Wiener Zeitung” must be published on the electronic federal announcement and information platform (EVI). Furthermore, announcements provided for by federal law that were not previously published in the “Official Gazette of the Wiener Zeitung” may also be made on evi.gv.at.
On 19 May 2023, the Federal Act on Wiener Zeitung GmbH and the Establishment of a Federal Electronic Announcement and Information Platform (WZEVI Act) was promulgated. This law provides, among other things, that the electronic announcement and information platform (EVI) of the federal government is to be established at Wiener Zeitung GmbH.
Following the discontinuation of the print edition of the Wiener Zeitung, which means that the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung is no longer published in physical form, the electronic Federal Announcement and Information Platform (EVI) was set up at the Wiener Zeitung, which is wholly owned by the Federal Government, and can be accessed at https://www.evi.gv.at/.
Digital bulletin board
EVI provides citizens and companies with centralized and free access to relevant information in the form of a digital “bulletin board” and thus makes a further contribution to transparency in the Republic of Austria as a new digital official gazette and as a central and barrier-free entry point to announcements.
However, the more than 380 existing publication and announcement obligations in the Wiener Zeitung and the Official Gazette of the Wiener Zeitung remain in place. From July 1, 2023, EVI will be used, for example, to publish changes in the company register, invitations to general meetings, job advertisements by the federal government or warnings by the Financial Market Authority.
Disclosure and publication of financial statements
The obligation to disclose the annual financial statements as well as to publish the annual financial statements of large stock corporations (Section 277 (2) UGB) shall be fulfilled by publication on EVI as of July 1, 2023.
The publication and disclosure obligation for the obligated legal entities (GmbH, AG or partnerships equivalent to corporations pursuant to Section 221 (5) UGB, e.g. GmbH & Co KG) and their officers (members of the management, members of the management board) remains unchanged. The publication of the announcements on EVI takes place at the instigation of the legal entities obliged to do so or of the competent authorities (e.g. the Commercial Register Court). The new regulation therefore only changes the publication medium, but not the basic publication obligation.
Announcements via EVI are free of charge – unlike the disclosure and publication of annual financial statements in the past – if the data to be published are provided electronically by the obligated entities (e.g. limited liability companies, joint stock companies) or the bodies responsible (e.g. the Commercial Register Court) for the electronic announcement and information platform without any further effort on the part of Wiener Zeitung GmbH (Section 2 (3) of the WZEVI Act). However, costs may be incurred, e.g. if the publication does not comply with the formal requirements and Wiener Zeitung GmbH has to carry out the formatting.