Through the lens of assessing the likely regulatory impact of the 2017 EU Directive on Long-term Shareholder Engagement and its amendments to the 2007 Directive on Shareholder Rights, this article considers the mythical voice and stewardship role attributed by the EU to shareholders as active corporate governance gatekeepers and drivers of its long-term sustainability agenda. It identifies limitations of the Directive itself and practical challenges concerning the provisions on shareholder identification, executive pay, related party transactions, proxy advisors and shareholder engagement policies. It is argued that there is a considerable normative gap between the EU narrative of engagement and the challenge of engaging shareholders away from self-interest and rational apathy to fulfil a stewardship role.
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