MAIN RECENT PROGRESS OF THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS
FOR EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP AND FINANCIAL PARTICIPATION

Employee share ownership and employee financial participation will develop better and faster when the European Union will affirm its political will. EFES was set up to encourage the European institutions in that way. However, the institutions of the European Union are numerous and complex. The progress is real. Unfortunately, it is still slow, compared to other regions of the world (Australia, the USA, South Africa, India, etc.) Here is the European background (EU reports, studies, etc)

     • Recent progress
     • The EFES action
     • European Parliament
     • Council of Ministers of the European Union
     • Presidency of the European Union
     • European Commission
     • European Foundation in Dublin
     • European Economic and Social Committee


  RECENT PROGRESS

08.05.2015: EFES Position Paper - Employee Share Ownership for Building the Capital Markets Union
05.01.2015: EFES Proposals for the European Action Plan

28.10.2014: Final Report of the Pilot Project for the Promotion of Employee Ownership and Participation
03.10.2014: EFES Manifesto 2014: Fiscal incentives are indispensable prerequisites for the development of employee share ownership
14.01.2014: European Parliament - Report on financial participation of employees in companies' proceeds (2013/2127(INI))
10.07.2013: Rectification about the European Parliament's Study on "Employee Financial Participation and Companies' Proceeds"
31.10.2012: Report on "Employee Financial Participation and Companies' Proceeds" - Economic & Scientific Policy Directorate of the European Parliament

30.04.2012: Report of the public hearing in the European Parliament on March 22, 2012
23.02.2011: A European Single Market for Employee Ownership (answering the consultation on the Single Market Act)
04.02.2011: Presidency of the EU Council 2010 - Report of the conference on employee ownership
13.11.2010: Own-initiative Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee
15.04.2010: A cat is a cat. New forum on this website: Let's focus on employee ownership as the real question nowadays and forget the old concept of "employee financial participation" which is now obsolete and confusing
18.05.2009: Questions by Mrs Ieke van den Burg, Member of the European Parliament, and answers from the European Commission
16.01.2009: MANIFESTO FOR THE 2009 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS and questions to the candidates
29.10.2008: A political roadmap for employee ownership in Europe (in the framework of the French Presidency of the EU)
24.05.2007: New EFES call to the Governments of the European Union (see below)
21.12.2006: Question by Mrs Catherine Stihler, MEP, to the European Commission
21.12.2006: Expert report: A European Commission's disaster
11.01.2006: European Commission proposals to make it easier for shareholders to exercise their rights within the EU
24.02.2005: Question by Mrs Catherine Stihler, Member of the European Parliament, and answer by the European Commission
17.09.2004: Report of the High Level Experts Group for the European Commission (President Jean-Baptiste de Foucauld)
09.06.2004: Bertie Ahern, chairing the EU as Irish Prime Minister, answers to EFES call
03.06.2004: Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament answers to EFES call
31.05.2004: EFES call to the European Parliament, the European Commission and all Governments of the European Union

 New EFES call to the Governments of the European Union (May 2007)
A recent study funded by the European Commission enlightened the fact that 89% of all 2.000 widest European Groups (29 millions employees) have employee share ownership and 83% have plans to develop it more.
These Groups consider employee share ownership as one of the best ways for aligning employees and shareholders interests, motivating people, improving corporate performances and giving people the chance to share better corporate results.
They are used to offer annual share plans to their employees in all possible countries.
Unfortunately, the main obstacle in development of their common human resources policy is the lack of proper legislation in several Member States. This situation causes discrimination between their employees - people from various countries, and put a brake on their  development and investments abroad.
This is why we would like to trigger discussion about the most effective legislation. Our aim is to encourage all governments to introduce a dedicated legislation, allowing the following employee share plans, as the most used across the world, in the European Union and the United States as well:
   -  Employee Stock Purchase Plan, possibly annual
   -  Discount rate 20%, free of tax and social security, up to 10% of annual gross salary (or 5.000 Euro annually)
   -  Blockage period: 3 years (through deferred stocks, blocked stocks or options with vesting period).

 EFES call to the European Parliament, the European Commission and all Governments of the European Union, 31.05.2004
In 1998, when the European Federation of Employee Share Ownership was set up, it was said that some 10% of American employees held shares of their enterprise; they are now 23,3%. Some weeks ago, the Australian Government launched a programme to double employee share ownership in Australia, from 5,5% of employees today to 11% in 2009.
Today, performances studies have multiplied and we can now consider with no doubt that when it is practiced in good conditions, employee ownership brings to enterprises a gain of performances estimated at 2% of additional annual growth on average. On the European Union scale, this would represent millions of additional jobs. In this way the development of employee ownership could be an important factor for the Lisbon Strategy.
Today, we are far from a European awareness and a strong mobilisation. Scepticism or indifference still dominate in many European countries. The contrast is obvious in comparison with the United States, Australia and other parts of the world. A political willingness of the European Union has still to crystallize.
We recommend that Europe gives itself a voluntary objective of industrial policy : reach 10 % of employee ownership in the whole European Union in 2010. In this way, a whole combination of means have to be implemented at the Union level, in the Member States and in the regions.
We particularly insist on the followings :
1. The implementation of a community organ (agency ? institute ? committee ?) for the promotion and the development of employee ownership. In this way, we applaud the proposal of the European Commission Experts Group, chaired by Jean-Baptiste de Foucauld, to install a European Committee for Financial Participation of Workers.
2. An adapted legislation must be applied in each country of the European Union. In this way too, we applaud the proposals of the Experts Group of the Commission chaired by Jean-Baptiste de Foucauld.
3. Enterprise transfer and salvation of failing enterprises are situations where employee ownership has proved its worth (the Spanish sociedades laborales being a good example). Employee buyouts schemes should get particular support. These formulas are not only to be supported for themselves but also because they are favourable to the diffusion and promotion of employee ownership, in all enterprises of the Union's countries.

 THE EFES ACTION
08.05.2015: EFES Position Paper - Employee Share Ownership for Building the Capital Markets Union
05.01.2015: EFES Proposals for the European Action Plan

03.10.2014: EFES Manifesto 2014: Fiscal incentives are indispensable prerequisites for the development of employee share ownership

10.07.2013: Rectification about the European Parliament's Study on "Employee Financial Participation in Companies' Proceeds"
23.02.2011: A European Single Market for Employee Ownership (answering the consultation on the Single Market Act)
15.04.2010: A cat is a cat. New forum on this website: Let's focus on employee ownership as the real question nowadays and forget the old concept of "employee financial participation" which is now obsolete and confusing
16.01.2009: MANIFESTO FOR THE 2009 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS and questions to the candidates

29.10.2008: A political roadmap for employee ownership in Europe (in the framework of the French Presidency of the EU)
31.05.2004: EFES call to the European Parliament, the European Commission and all Governments of the European Union

10.05.2004: EFES response to the consultation for the new community programme for enterprepreneurship 2006-2010
19.03.2004: Letter to all European Governments. On the occasion of the forthcoming renewal of the European Commission, EFES calls for a transfer of the competence related to employee ownership and employee financial participation along with the management of the sub-programme on employee financial participation of budget-line B3-4003 to DG Enterprise.

  EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
14.01.2014: European Parliament - Report on financial participation of employees in companies' proceeds (2013/2127(INI))
10.07.2013: Rectification about the European Parliament's Study on "Employee Financial Participation in Companies' Proceeds"
31.10.2012: Study on "Employee Financial Participation in Companies' Proceeds" - Economic & Scientific Policy Directorate of the European Parliament

30.04.2012: Report of the public hearing in the European Parliament on March 22, 2012
18.05.2009: Questions by Mrs Ieke van den Burg, Member of the European Parliament, and answers from the European Commission
16.01.2009: MANIFESTO FOR THE 2009 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS and questions to the candidates
21.12.2006: Question by Mrs Catherine Stihler, MEP, to the European Commission
21.12.2006: Expert report: A European Commission's disaster
24.02.2005: Question by Mrs Catherine Stihler, Member of the European Parliament, and answer by the European Commission
05.06.2003: The Parliament votes its new Resolution on employee financial participation; it is here available in:
                       
DA / DE / EL / EN / ES / FI / FR / IT / NL / PT / SV
19.03.2003: The EP Committee for Employment and Social Affairs discusses its project report; it is here available in:
                       DA / DE / EL / EN / ES / FI / FR / IT / NL / PT / SV

December 2002: The European Parliament publishes a new major report: "Employee Participation in Profit and Ownership: A Review of the Issues and Evidence", by Virginie Pérotin and Andrew Robinson. It is here available in EN / FR / DE
30.04.1999: EFES hold the First European Workshop for Employee Ownership and Participation, in the European Parliament in Brussels. The Workshop defines EFES' European Action Programme.
15.01.1998: Resolution of the European Parliament on Report PEPPER II of the European Commission.
October 1997: the Commission for Employment & Social Affairs of the Parliament votes its draft Report on Report PEPPER II of the European Commission.

  COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Year 1999: Lisbon Summit decides that the promotion of employee financial participation will be on the European Social Agenda. The European Commission is in charge of a Communication and an Action Plan.
27.07.1992:
the Council of Ministers of the European Union decides its Recommendation 92/443/CEE, for the promotion or employee participation to profits and enterprise results (including participation to capital), OJEC L245 of 26/8/1992.

  PRESIDENCY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
  February 2011 - Presidency of the European Union Council – Conference on employee ownership
The conference expressed its support to the European Economic and Social Committee, asking for:
Regarding large companies: Each European country should make available "an optional simple, uniform incentive model, with the same tax-arrangements and incentives throughout the EU".
Regarding SMEs: Each European country should strongly encourage business transmission to employees as the USA did since 1974 – this is the concept of a "European ESOP model" for SMEs.
The report of the conference is now available. Read more
23.11.2001:
International Conference in Brussels, organised by EFES: "The Belgian Presidency of the European Union encourages employee ownership and participation". Report of the Conference. Pictures of the Conference (series 1) (series 2) (series 3)

The Declaration of the Conference was in line with EFES European Action Programme:
The Belgian Presidency of the European Union, represented within the conference by Minister of Finance Didier Reynders, expressed his willingness to go ahead in European PEPPER policies. Minister Reynders gave his support to the opinion expressed by the European Federation of Employee Share Ownership (EFES) on the next Communication of the European Commission.
The governments of eleven European States (besides Belgium, following governments were represented: France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Czech Republic) joined him to ask the European Commission : 
- to promote employee share ownership and participation, in preference to other forms of financial participation of workers; 
- to set up a permanent working party composed of representatives of both sides of industry, employee owners organizations, members of the European Parliament, experts of the Commission and representatives of the Member States;
to implement a European programme with adequate funding; 
-
to create a European institute for employee share ownership and participation, to promote exchanges of information and best practices; 
- to develop training programmes about employee share ownership and participation;
- to adopt common principles and definitions (inter alia: the voluntary character of employee share ownership, and its accessibility to all employees and all types of firms, including SMEs); 
- to remove the transnational obstacles (tax, financial, social and cultural). 
The European Commission, represented by Mr Rosendo Gonzales-Dorrego, Director in the Directorate-General Employment and Social Affairs, pointed out the initiatives taken in the past, in particular PEPPER Reports and the consultation intended to prepare the next Communication of the Commission.  The consultation brought a hundred reactions, among which the opinion of EFES and that of the European social partners.  It referred to the difficulties within the Commission, due to the fact that many Directorate-Generals are interested in the initiatives related to employee share ownership (DG Employment & Social Affairs, DG Enterprises, DG Internal Market, etc).
The organizations of workers and the organizations of employers were represented by ETUC – the European Trade Unions Confederation and by UNICE – Union of Industrials and Employer’s Confederations of Europe. Both supported the development of employee share ownership while insisting on their own emphases:  ETUC insists on the aspects of participation of the workers in general and in decision-making, and on the distribution of income and wealth; UNICE stresses the voluntary aspect of employee share ownership, and on its positive impact on motivation and productivity. 
This is why the conference requires the lifting of tax and social security obstacles from the Member States and the Council of Ministers of the EU.
Then, a series of major European firms of various sizes, countries and branches of industry testified to their experiences and their practices in employee ownership and participation. They also stressed the huge difficulties, for the firms, in implementing transnational employee share ownership plans. 
Eventually, the companies' representatives agreed on the importance of different collective ownership and ownership representation forms, besides the individual forms, and they supported the idea of creating a legislative framework for these collective forms (association, trust, stiftung, co-operatives, etc). 

  EUROPEAN COMMISSION
05.01.2015: EFES Proposals for the European Action Plan
28.10.2014: Final Report of the Pilot Project for the Promotion of Employee Ownership and Participation

18.05.2009: Questions by Mrs Ieke van den Burg, Member of the European Parliament, and answers from the European Commission

21.12.2006: Question by Mrs Catherine Stihler, MEP, to the European Commission
21.12.2006: Expert report: A European Commission's disaster

11.01.2006:
European Commission proposals to make it easier for shareholders to exercise their rights within the EU
17.09.2004:
  the European Commission published the Report of the High Level Experts Group chaired by Jean-Baptiste de Foucauld on cross-border obstacles to financial participation of employees: EN / FR / DE
Year 2003:
Stock options: The European Commission – DG Enterprise and Industry organised a study on employee stock options, leading to the conclusion in 2003 that: Employee stock options can help to promote entrepreneurship (click to get the full document)    This conclusion was based on a Final report by the Expert Group on Employee Stock Options  and on the DG Enterprise study on Employee Stock Options in the EU and USA
Year 2003:  the Commission adopted several communications on entrepreneurship, on industrial policy and on innovation, involving employee ownership: see details on page "employee entrepreneurship"
05.07.2002: the European Commission adopted its Communication on Financial Participation of workers and Action Plan (see the Council of Ministers' Lisbon Summit). You can find the Communication in English and 10 other languages, clicking on: EN / FR / ES / IT / DE / NL / PT / DA / EL / FI / SV
15.12.2001: "Recent trends in employee financial participation in the EU", joint publication with the European Foundation Dublin
01.08.2000:
the Commission launches a consultation for preparing the Communication and Action Plan asked by the Counicl of Ministers durin its Lisbon Summit in 1999.
15.11.1999: A company perspective on financial participation in the EU - Objectives and obstacles
September 1996: Report PEPPER II – Promotion of Employee Participation in Profits and Enterprise Results (including participation to capital) in the Member States, Communication of the Commission, COM(96)0697
September 1991: the Commission publishes Report PEPPER 1 – Promotion of Employee Participation in Profits and Enterprise Results.

 EUROPEAN FOUNDATION IN DUBLIN
The European Foudation for the Improvement of Life and Working Conditions is based in Dublin. It is governed by social partners and governments of the Member States. It was active about employee financial participation and it organised original researches.
It has a dedicated internet page for employee financial participation.
15.09.2005: Financial Participation in the EU: a benchmarking study of Slovenia
26.10.2004: Financial participation in the EU: Indicators for benchmarking

06.09.2004: Financial participation for SMEs: barriers and potential solutions
18.05.2004: Financial Participation: the role of governments and social partners
15.12.2001: "Recent trends in employee financial participation in the EU", joint publication with the European Commission
November 2001:
the European Foundation in Dublin publishes a kind of PEPPER III Report, entitled: "Employee Share Ownership and Profit-Sharing in the European Union".

  EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is the body that gives representatives of Europe's social partners and civil society a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. It has a key role to play in the Union's decision-making process.
13.11.2010: Own-initiative Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee voted on October 21, 2010 - A masterwork
In February 2010, the EESC decided to draw up an own-initiative opinion on Employee Financial Participation. This own-initiative opinion (SOC 371) was adopted in the EESC's plenary session on October 21, 2010. A masterwork drawing the way of a European policy for employee ownership.

26.02.2003: For the first time, the European Economic and Social Committee makes an opinion on employee financial participation. This important document is available in 11 languages : DA / DE / EL / EN / ES / FI / FR / IT / NL / PT / SV

 

[Home page] [News and History] [Links to other sites]

 


 

 


 

 

For information and contact
EFES - EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF EMPLOYEE SHARE OWNERSHIP
FEAS - FEDERATION EUROPEENNE DE L'ACTIONNARIAT SALARIE
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel/fax: +32 (0)2 242 64 30
E-mail: efes@efesonline.org
Web site: www.efesonline.org
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 share ownership and participation in Europe.