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Appeal to all European
governments and institutions
      Sign and react
      All reactions and supports  

Employee share ownership in times of pandemic


  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe, Spain - Gracias por su correo, les adjunto
         algunas de las noticias relativas a la participación de los empleados en las empresas que se han puesto en marcha
         en Euskadi por si fuera de su interés. En el año 2018 el Parlamento Vasco aprobó una iniciativa con el acuerdo de todos
         los grupos para avanzar en este modelo.
  Jan Pravda, Czech Republic - I am a fund manager and investor, and agree 100% that this is a good opportunity
          to implement this long missing feature of capital structure.
  Jorgen Pedersen, Vice President Compensation & Benefits and International Mobility, Saint-Gobain, France
  Juan Manuel Sinde, President of Arizmendiarrieta Foundation, Spain - Thank you very much, it is a very interesting initiative!
  Jean-Marie Peretti, Professeur ESSEC Business School, France
  Better Finance, the European Federation of Investors and Financial Services Users urges to put Employee Share Ownership
         at the core of efforts to tackle the Corona-induced financial crisis - Press Release
  Heinrich Beyer, Bundesverband Mitarbeiterbeteiligung – AGP, Germany - Thank you for your initiative to promote employee
         share ownership in Europe. Of course we also support your proposal - "An employee share ownership fund to help companies
         tackle the crisis". We also approached the German federal government with the proposal to better promote employee
         participation as "emergency aid" in the corona-crisis. And thank you for the concept paper "A generic European ESOP model".
         This is also very interesting for the discussion in Germany, although we hardly have the entrepreneurial, political and legal
         requirements. But we will continue to take care of the topic.
 Gabriela Cretu, MP, European Affairs Committee Chairperson, Romanian Senate, Social Democratic Party, Romania
          I support the proposal !
 Cibrán Fernandez Silva, Cabinet of the President of the European Council Charles Michel - Many thanks for the input.
         We will take it into consideration.
 Corey Rosen, Founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership, USA - I think this is a very well-done paper, and I agree
         with most of it. I would agree with others that it is not really a key issue to have employees vote the shares or
         elect the trustee. Many business owners will not be comfortable with allowing that, so you will have far fewer ESOPs.
         The research on this issue is clear-voting rights do not significantly change how employees feel about being owners and
         in companies that do have voting rights, the rights don't lead to much change anyway (I was on the board of one and each year
         we all got nominated by ourselves and reelected without opposition). Voting rights are not at all correlated with company
         performance. What is correlated (highly) is work-level decisions (teams, ad hoc groups, open book management, etc.), but it is
         not possible to legislate that-it has to grow organically in the employee ownership community, as it has here.
 David Binns, ESOP Services, USA - In my opinion, this updated draft is a dramatic improvement on the prior version.
         It does a much better job of explaining the basic structure and dynamic of the US ESOP while offering possible innovations
         for its adoption in the European context. While I would still quibble with some of the assumptions (the one-person, one-vote
         concept is problematic in my view), it's an excellent basis for stimulating discussion of the potential for incorporating
         the principles of the ESOP for restructuring European SMEs.
 Michael Keeling, Past President of the Employee Ownership Foundation, USA - I think your goal of moving forward to expand
         broad based ownership among EU members is more important than the details of any proposal as some of my good friends
         in the U.S. sent to  you in responding to your proposal. I want you to succeed.
 Hugh Donnelly, Director Co-operative Education Trust Scotland, UK - I would not claim to have fully digested the entire paper
         but the use of a co-op vehicle is certainly one which would have appeal in Scotland and the UK. At both levels, discussions
         are developing on new forms of economic organisations and the point made by Kris below that it might not appeal to banks,
         equity or VC operations would be an added attraction for many who want to see a new form of organisation after this pandemic,
         new ways of organising society and new ways of financing. Kris seems to assume that nothing will change in the world of
         venture capitalism and, unfortunately having seen how things didn't progress after the financial crash of 2008, he may well
         be correct. I think there will be an even greater demand this time round as to how we organise economic, social and cultural
         activity and certainly more employee ownership has to be to the fore in that discussion and the co-op option suggested
         in your paper opens up another genuinely democratic way to achieve the same.
 Kris Ludwiniak, President, Forum for Employee Share Ownership Develoment, Poland - In our legislation proposals for
         employee ownership programs, we are recommending three options of capital formation for developing employee ownership.
         Two of those are internal and similar to ESPP and the third one is based on credit financing from banks or other financial
         institutions. It is very similar to ESOP financing, if not identical. Of course, combination of all three is possible.
         In our proposals employees and companies have flexibility in deciding which formula of employee ownership financing is
         the best for them. Moreover, in our legislative proposals are specific regulations that are protecting broad share ownership
         as well as paragraphs that prevent concentration of capital. As far as COOP - ESOP idea, I think this is complicated approach
         to capital formation and can create unnecessary managerial problems. The COOP concept is not very adaptable to mix with
         idea of corporation. It is also marginally popular in industrial sector of economy. I suspect banks and especially private
         equity and venture capital firms will have limited interest in financing COOPs as a vehicle that suppose to build employee
         ownership in corporations.. Consequently it would not rise too much of interest especially among start-ups and SMS
         companies. In my opinion the foundations similar to those functioning in Austria or perhaps modernized labor unions
         at company levels (like in Gazolina) are better options for acting as a trust institutions then COOPs.
 Jean-Philippe Debas, President, Equalis Capital, France - Thank you very much for sharing this very interesting work.
        As you may imagine, I totally support the propositions that are outlined in the document as they resonate both with my beliefs
        and the inner workings of SMEs. I have only one suggestion to offer : maybe the authors should consider the Fonds Commun
        de Placement d'Entreprise (FCPE) as a candidate for the Generic ESOP. It is the dominant vehicle for employee ownership
        in Europe both for listed and privately-held companies. As an alternative investment fund it is already regulated under
        a European Directive (the Alternative Investment Fund Managers - AIFM - Directive). At Equalis Capital we have set-up many
        FCPEs on a pan-European level and it did work seamlessly. I am slightly surprised that the FCPE is not even mentioned
        in the Position Paper. Us Europeans should perhaps leverage our own know-how rather than necessarily looking up to the US
        for solutions.
 Tej Gonza, President, Institute for Economic Democracy, Slovenia - Governments should seriously consider structuring
         government aid so that it translates into sustainable and inclusive employee ownership in the receiving companies.
         Here is our appeal to Slovenian Government

 Fred Freundlich, Profesor, Area de Personas en Cooperación y Ownership, Mondragon Unibertsitatea - Many thanks, Marc.
        Best of luck with this proposal. I enthusiastically agree that an ESOP-like mechanism is crucial for Europe, especially for
        the thousands of SMEs who are or will soon be facing retiring owner/ownership succession situations. If memory serves,
        more than half of American ESOPs were born under these circumstances. I think the tax benefits do not have to be as
        generous as they are in the US for retiring owners (full deferral of capital gains taxes); they just have to be substantial enough
        to get retiring owners (and their lawyers' and accountants') attention and substantial enough to make it more beneficial
        than a conventional exit strategy: selling to a competitor or liquidating or whatever. The ESOP certainly has had its problems
        and challenges, but the basic idea, especially the idea behind the LEVERAGE ESOP, is brilliant: it allows ordinary working
        people to, in effect, use the assets of the owner's company to guarantee a loan that permits them to buy a substantial %
        of the company, a loan that they would almost certainly not be able to obtain by themselves (they just do not have enough assets,
        income or credit history) and THEN it allows these same ordinary employees to use the company's capacity to generate revenue
        to repay the loan. Of course the owner benefits greatly too, so it is a giant WIN-WIN. And if the ESOP saves the company from
        being liquidated or sold to another party (usually a party not concerned about local employment) then the local government
        and local economy also WIN. I'm sure you know all this already, but it deserves emphasis. I'm glad Tej and David and other
        experts are also involved. They have a lot of experience and have given this much thought. Best of luck again.
        I hope Europe responds. You surely have all my support.

  Frédéric Huignard, CEO, Sowise, France - Le Covid19 nous ouvre une opportunité de soutien aux entreprises qui accélère
         notre roadmap. Nous avons nous-mêmes envoyé une note au Ministère des Fianances français. Nous allons faire suivre
         la vôtre qui va exactement dans le même sens.
  Employee Shareholders Association of ING, Belgium
  Christophe Quintard, Président, AASR (Association des Actionnaires Salariés Renault), France
  Eero Kokko, Owner, Optimal Training Oy, Finland
  Vytenis Andriukaitis, Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania and Chairman of the Committee
         on European Affairs, Lithuania - I am just supporting this appeal.
  José Remus, Professor, Universidad Autonoma de la Ciudad de Mexico (UACM), Mexico.
 Centro Studi Sociali Pietro Desiderato, Federazione Autonoma Bancari Italiani (FABI), Italia
         L'azionariato dei dipendenti in tempi di pandemia. La EFES rivolge un appello a tutti i Governi ed Istituzioni europee affinchè
         la leva fiscale e le politiche pubbliche non ostacolino, ma promuovano ed agevolino l'azionariato e la partecipazione
        dei dipendenti.
 Christopher Mackin, Ownership Associates, USA - Congratulations on taking this initiative. Now is a time where it should be clear
        to all regardless of ideology that no working person should have to rely upon wages alone. It is time for broad-based share
        ownership. We are pursuing similar initiatives in the United States, see why the coronavirus crisis is an opportunity to reshape
        the relationship between workers and their employers.
 KSLP - Ceská spolecnost pro zamestnaneckou participaci, z.s. tuto Výzvu signovala.
 Arnaud Cagnard, France
 Maurice Hadet, France
 Nicolas Aubert, Professeur des Universités, Directeur du CERGAM, IAE Aix-Marseille, France - C'est une super initiative!
 Eric Lafon, LCL, France
 Bertrand de Cugnac, Président, LCLAS, France - Je signe l'appel en cette période de crise à promouvoir le développement
         de l'actionnariat salarié et la reprise d'entreprises par les salariés.
 Tej Gonza, President, Institute for Economic Democracy, Slovenia - Full-hearted support to the initiative. Governments should
         seriously consider structuring government aid so that it translates into sustainable and inclusive employee ownership in
         the receiving companies. At our institute we have already appealed to the gov crisis group about this issue.
         Here is a recent op-ed dealing with the proposal in a general way.
 David Ellerman, Visiting scholar at the University of California/Riverside and at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia - We are
         thinking along the same lines about building some EO into COVID-19 Govt aid. See this preprint of our paper coming out
         in a journal Intereconomics.
 Fred Freundlich, Profesor, Area de Personas en Cooperación y Ownership, Mondragon Unibertsitatea - I forwarded your
        message to some contacts, various of whom I know are working ideas similar to the ones in the "Appeal...". In the message
        below, is a link to a pre-print of a new paper "COVID-19: Government Aid that also promotes Employee Ownership" by
        David Ellerman and Tej Gonza from Slovenia.
 Ioan Lucian, President, National Union of Romanian Employers - We sign, and will be together with you on your special initiative.
 Andrej Mertelj, CEO, Datalab Slovenia - We're a middle aged (23 y.o.) software company from Slovenia. Roughly 200 people
        with all our subsidiaries. We're encouraging employee share ownership since 2003 when we distributed first shares among
        employees. We listed on Ljubljana stock Exchange in 2008 and started a formal ESOP/MSOP program in 2010
        It is sometimes hard to convince employees about the value and we're hindrered by the taxation policy in Slovenia severely
        limiting the shares under ESOP program. We agree strongly with your appeal!
        Thanks for your initiatives and Good luck to everybody,
 Jean-Pierre Paelinck, Secretary General, World Federation of Investors - Encouraging employee ownership is an excellent
        opportunity to provide the much needed capital that businesses need at this time. In addition, it creates an environment where
        workers can closely appreciate the risk-reward of investing. There are many very successful employee ownership examples
        in the US.
 Xavier Fontanet, HEC Paris, France - Voir mon blog  Et si nous repensions le contrat de travail? ...Sans compter qu'il y a là
         une des solutions au problème de la retraite dans le cas d’une rémunération sous forme d’actions, puisque le collaborateur
         se constitue au fil des ans un capital qui permet de l’augmenter dans des proportions considérables, comme le démontrent
         les entreprises qui ont pratiqué l’actionnariat salarié depuis longtemps.
 Aldo Sicurani, Délégué général, Fédération des Investisseurs individuels et des Clubs d'investissement (F2iC), France
Je signe cet appel bien volontiers. Nous allons l'intégrer dans notre webzine.
 Georges-Louis Bouchez, Président, Mouvement Réformateur, Belgium - Je vous remercie pour l'appel de votre fédération que j'ai
         bien reçu. Celui-ci a retenu toute mon attention et fera l'objet d'un examen approfondi dans le cadre des mesures de relance qui
         seront évaluées par l'ERMG et le gouvernement. Merci encore pour cette proposition et ces informations.

 Myriam Biot, Cultures Plurielles, Belgium - L'actionnariat salarié est un outil pour sortir de la crise actuelle. Ne passons pas à côté.
 László Miskéri, Waterworks Trade Union, Hungary
 Association des Actionnaires Salariés d'ING, Belgium
 David Faber, OGBL, Luxembourg
 Jérôme Touchard, BNP Paribas, France
 Vic Thorpe, Just Solutions Network, UK - As you rightly indicate, this is a major opportunity to increase the impact of ESOP and
         cooperative structures to build on social solidarity and to counter the destructive nature of greed-based capitalism.
 Alexander Remesch, Parlament, Republik Österreich
 BETTER FINANCE - European Federation of Investors and Financial Services Users
                                          Fédération Européenne des Épargnants et Usagers des Services Financiers
 Walter Vogt, IG Metall, Germany
 Brigitte De Wolf-Cambier, Rédactrice en chef EH21, Repenser l'entreprise autour de l'homme, Belgium
 Jorgen Pedersen, Saint-Gobain, France
 Xavier Collot, Amundi, France
 Stefan Fritz, mit-unternehmer.com, Germany
  Heinrich Beyer, Bundesverband Mitarbeiterbeteiligung – AGP, Germany - Call for support to German initiative


 Michel Bon, Président de Fondact, France - La cause de Fondact est d'encourager la réussite collective, au-delà de la
         performance individuelle. La lutte contre le Coronavirus fait appel au même ressort. C'est le comportement efficace de
         tous (ici, le confinement) qui, seul, nous fera gagner le combat ; et c'est le jeu personnel qui nous le fera perdre.
         Mettons à profit l'évidence actuelle de cette idée pour l'utiliser massivement au sortir de la crise. En particulier, vous
         avez sûrement noté que la "prime Macron" peut aller jusqu'à 2000 € dans le cadre d'un accord existant ou conclu
         avant le 31 août. Et que la loi Pacte permet un abondement unilatéral allant jusqu'à un peu plus de 800 € pour ouvrir
         à tous l'actionnariat salarié.
 Daily Mail and General Trust, UK - DMGT, parent organisation of DMG Media offers 2,400 employees shares
         to avoid pay cuts. More


  Martin Kamp, Member of the European Parliament, European People's Party, Germany
  Norbert Lins, Member of the European Parliament, European People's Party, Germany


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EFES' objective is to act as the umbrella organization of employee owners, companies and all persons, trade unions, experts, researchers, institutions looking to promote employee ownership and participation in Europe.

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