EFP on the EU policy agenda
Several recent EU reports have highlighted the potential benefits and advantages of employee financial participation (EFP). Over the past 30 years a large number of empirical studies have corroborated these findings. The latest round of EU cross-country studies (EWCS, CRANET, ECS) note that employees continue to expand their participation in ESO plans in Europe despite the financial crisis.
On 21 October 2010, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted an own-initiative opinion on EFP in Europe referring to the 1992 Council Recommendation and the 2002 European Commission Communication on the issue. Following the release of the 2012 EP Study on EFP, the European Parliament is currently working on an own-initiative report to be voted in the beginning of 2014.
With the inclusion of ESO in the 2012 Action Plan on Corporate Governance, the European Commission underlines its economical relevance, especially with regard to ESO’s capacity for enhancing transparency, responsibility and competitiveness and for its positive impact on corporate governance. In the Action Plan the Commission commits itself therefore to “identify and investigate potential obstacles to trans-national employee share ownership schemes” and to “take appropriate action to encourage employee share ownership throughout Europe.”
Against this background, the EU pilot project on Promotion of Employee Ownership and Participation funded by DG MARKT aims to
(1) assess EFP across the EU-28 including reasons for wide divergences in approaches between Member States and problems with cross-border implementation of EFP schemes, and
(2) formulate possible regulatory and non-regulatory actions that might be proposed or undertaken by the Commission to promote EFP and in particular ESO.
The conference “Taking Action: Promotion of Employee Share Ownership – Debating concrete policy options in the context of the EC Action Plan on Corporate Governance” will present the interim results of the pilot project aiming for feedback from experts and practitioners as well as policy makers.