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
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
Stock Purchase Plan, possibly annual
- Discount rate
20%, free of tax and social security,
up to 10% of annual gross salary (or 5.000
period: 3 years (through deferred stocks,
blocked stocks or options with vesting
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.