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Assets held by European employees in shares of their company increased to 301 billion Euro in 2014, a new record. However, for the third consecutive year in 2014, the number of employee shareholders decreased in Europe. This is clearly related to the regressive fiscal policies in many European countries. In contrast, the UK chose to double the fiscal incentives for employee share ownership, considering it is a key element of recovery and an investment for the future. Lower incentives have a clear consequence in continental Europe: The democratization of employee share ownership regresses, leading to wealth concentration in the richest hands. The following graph shows how dramatic is the divorce between continental Europe and the UK. While 30% of employees held shares of their company last year in the UK (the highest rate since the statistic exists), a sharp drop below 24% can be observed on the continent. More information

Press review
We have a selection of 43 remarkable articles in 11 countries in January 2015: Australia, Austria, China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, UK, USA.
Australia: New legislation will replicate key aspects of the British regime that seeks to encourage stock options in small companies and start-ups.
Austria: An employee ownership foundation for the Austrian Post?
China: Employee share ownership plans are widely seen as important mechanisms in reforming China's state-owned enterprises.
Finland: Due to new fiscal incentives, employee share funds increased more in 2014 than during the five preceding years.
France: Successful new plans for GDF Suez, for Cap Gemini, for Peugeot. MBO/EBO for Movitex. The new legislation will ensure better governance of employee share funds. Workers co-operatives in France: Global picture and some particular cases. First election of the Supervisory Board for  Cap'Orange.
Germany: Employee shareholders refuse the discharge to Siemens Supervisory Board.
Italy: New employee shareholders association for Banca Carige. Workers Buyouts in Italy.
Slovenia: Minister of Economic Development promotes employee ownership.
Spain: Paving the way for the development of employee share ownership in Spain.
UK: Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) was introduced by the Finance Act in April this year as an innovative way of encouraging businesses to become employee owned through enhanced tax benefits. Circle was founded as a part-employee owned business in 2004, but its image was damaged last September. Why every company should offer their workers a save-as-you-earn share plan.
USA: Is an ESOP a good idea? Numerous new ESOP companies.

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Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 808 30 33
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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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