Marcora Law for Europe

This is a reprint of a paper: Gonza, Tej, David Ellerman, Gregor Berkopec, Tea Žgank, and Timotej Široka. 2021. “Marcora for Europe: Worker-Buyouts.” European State Aid Law Quarterly 20 (1): 607–19.

The sector of small and medium-sized enterprises is lately under immense pressure due to restrictive governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the dominant issues is concerned with financial liquidity – the threat is large-scale insolvency, job losses in thou-sands, and disappearance of businesses from local communities. There is a time-tested solution in Spain and Italy that provides liquidity to such enterprises in a democratic manner by establishing employee ownership schemes. The new source of liquidity is allowing unemployed workers to capitalize part of their unemployment insurance to invest in a new or existing enterprise where they will have a job. In addition to saving businesses, employee-owned firms proved to provide more resilient business structures that better withstand crises. Despite the concerns that such an aid scheme meets the indications of a general prohibition of State aid and is thus illegal, the doubts were scattered by the Commission’s decision which offered guidance and clarification. Based on good practice, we propose a universal model that could be legislated in most EU Member States.

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