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Press release

Annual Survey of Employee Share Ownership in Europe in 2015

The European Federation of Employee Share Ownership (EFES), the voice of employee share ownership in Europe, released the new "Annual Economic Survey of Employee Share Ownership in European Countries" on March 3.

Assets held by the 8 million employee shareholders in Europe in 2015 were never so high before: 370 billion Euro and more than 3% of the capital of all large European companies in 2015. This is more than 45.000 € per person.

Marc Mathieu, Secretary General of the EFES said: "We see that even through the European crisis, employee share ownership is a formidable engine to share in results and growth, - assets per person have more than doubled since 2009."

However, the imbalance has continued to widen between European countries.

Some European countries have chosen for stronger incentive policies, promoting employee share ownership and long term savings as an investment for the future. The UK, Austria or Spain have to be mentioned in this way. The UK and Austria chose to double the fiscal incentives for employee share ownership, considering it is a key element of recovery, and Spain introduced a new law for employee-owned and participative companies.

Instead of that, some other countries have chosen to reduce public spending and to support household consumption, while incentives for long term savings and for employee share ownership were sacrificed (France, Greece, The Netherlands, Denmark). Meanwhile, Germany maintained its reluctance to promote employee share ownership.

The number of employee shareholders in Europe stabilized in 2015. However, the decrease was significant in continental Europe since 2011 (-10% and -700.000 persons) while at the same time, the number increased by 10% in the UK (+200.000 persons).

While assets held by European employees in shares of their company increased spectacularly since 2009, these growing assets are spread over a declining number of employees in continental Europe. Austerity and lower incentives have thus a clear consequence in continental Europe: The democratization of employee share ownership regresses, leading to wealth concentration and higher inequalities.

Press review
We have a selection of 22 remarkable articles in 7 countries in February 2016: Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, UK, USA.
Canada: Why devaluing stock options would be a disaster for startups: The Canadian government is planning to roll out a new tax initiative that is designed to limit the tax deductibility of employee stock options.
Finland: The legislation on Personal Funds was recently revised.
Germany: Higher number of employee shareholders in 2015, following the Deutsches Aktien Institut.
France: Employee share plans declined in numbers in 2015. Paris Airport will promote a new employee share scheme in 2016. Workers coops stories.
India: Make ESOPs more viable.
UK: The Co-operative Party promotes profit-sharing. The wide choice of employee ownership forms that exist for private companies in the UK.
USA: A set of new ESOP companies. Discussions about ESOP tax incentives in Budget 2017. Tribute to Louis Kelso's "Capitalist Manifesto" - How to make everyone who labours not just a worker, but also a capitalist.

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Marc Mathieu
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brüssel
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 808 30 33
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Die EFES ist die Dachorganisation für kapitalbeteiligte Arbeitnehmer, Unternehmen und jeder Person, Gewerkschaft, Experte, Forscher, Institution, die Arbeitnehmerkapitalbeteiligung in Europa fördern wollen.

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