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 Disaster in Norway

It's done. Since 1st January, the surprise abolition of all employee share ownership incentives by the new Norwegian government has been completed.
The time for a political debate has therefore arrived. What should be done, and what is the alternative? As a former celebrated Belgian socialist prime minister used to say: "I act first and think later".
For the Norwegian Social Democratic Party, employee ownership represented inequality. We will replace it with tax benefits for stock options in start-ups, which will surely be much more egalitarian.
Start-ups are currently all the rage for politicians throughout Europe.
At the European Commission, Commissioner Thierry Breton made a similar statement a while ago.  We highlighted the delay in Europe for employee shareholding in SMEs, the need to introduce in Europe financial tools adapted to the transfer of companies to employees. "The job is done", he said: in just a few months we have put in place a European strategy to promote the use of stock options in start-ups.
This European strategy (the EU Start-up Nation Standard) consists essentially of asking the European states to act, which is apparently what is also happening in Norway.
We responded that a strategy aimed at the 20 to 30,000 European start-ups cannot be commensurate with the needs of European SMEs. In fact, the European Union currently has two million SMEs employing 50 million people (not counting the 23 million micro-enterprises which also employ nearly 50 million people).
According to such logic, Europe now has such good electric bicycles that it will not even require rockets for future trips to Mars.
At least in Norway the debate is lively, as you can see in our press review.

Press review
We have a selection of 33 remarkable articles in 10 countries in January 2022: Australia, Belgium, Czechia, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA.
Australia: Employee Ownership Trusts are a very simple structure that collectively owns the company for the benefit of the employees.
Belgium: The employees of I-Care company participated in its recapitalization.
Czech Republic: Zaha Hadid Architects moves to employee ownership model.
France: In search of employee ownership in SMEs. Transfers of businesses to employees in the form of workers' cooperatives. New employee share plan for Aramis. Boiling for the employee shareholders of EDF.
Italy: The EFES draws up the catalog of employee share ownership models.
Norway: Political disaster.
Spain: New employee share plan for Repsol.
Sweden: Fredrik Lundberg against employee ownership at Handelsbanken.
UK: One in 20 of all business transmissions is now to an Employee Ownership Trust. Every day a new SME is transferred to employees, as for instance this month: The Leeds Law Firm, Market Carpets, Formative Content, Cost Advice, Family Law Group, GuitarGuitar, Kidzcare. Employee ownership:  Who really wins? - Still much doubt from the union for architectural workers.
USA: New business transmissions through ESOPs. A promising vanguard of institutional investors are using their resources to support business transitions to employee ownership.

The full press review is available on:


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   With best regards



Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 791 96 00
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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.