Commission's Green Paper on the EU Corporate Governance
In 2011 the European Commission launched a
public consultation organized by Commissioner
Michel Barnier (Internal Market) on the EU corporate
governance framework. For the first time in this
Green Paper, the European Commission points out
employee ownership, as an element of corporate
governance, and not just as a question about financial
participation between employees and employers.
all details about the consultation and the Green
about employee share ownership and corporate governance
This is how the Green Paper introduced question
23 about employee share ownership and corporate
interest in the long-term sustainability of
the company for which they work is an element
that a corporate governance framework should
take into account. Employees' involvement in
the affairs of a company may take the form of
information, consultation and participation
in the board. But it can also relate to forms
of financial involvement, particularly to employees
becoming shareholders. Employee share ownership
has a long tradition in some European countries.
Such schemes are mainly considered as means
to increase the commitment and motivation of
workers, raise productivity and reduce social
tension. But employee share ownership also involves
risks from lack of diversification: if the company
fails, employee shareholders may lose both their
job and their savings. However, employees as
investors could play an important role to increase
the proportion of long-term-oriented shareholders.
Question: (23) Are there measures to be taken,
and is so, which ones, to promote at EU level
employee share ownership?"
people answered the consultation about the EU
Many companies, enterprises organisations,
unions, organisations of the civil society and
public authorities answered the consultation.
Question 23 about employee share ownership and
corporate governance received 252 answers from
All detailed answers to the consultation are available
for download here, including the
answers about employee share ownership and corporate
Answers about employee share ownership are globally
positive. In fact, the global quote is positive
at 65%. All
answers to question 23 about employee share
ownership can be found here in a synthetic document.
We quote each answer from -3 to +3 (very negative
to very positive).
it is sad that the question was ambiguous: Many
people answered positively, supporting the idea
that employee ownership should be promoted by
the EU, while others gave negative answers fearing
that the EU could restrict their freedom in
the field (for example, most Swedish companies
gave the same hard negative answer even calling
to the Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms).
first "feedback statement" from the Commission's
services express a negative conclusion: "there
is no majority to support intervention at EU
level in this field"). This statement seems
hasty. In fact, most answers are well positive
send a letter about this to Commissioner Michel
synthesis and analyses will be soon available.