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'Family firms are important, not only because they make an essential contribution to the economy, but also because of the long-term stability they bring, the specific commitment they show to local communities, the responsibility they feel as owners and the values they stand for. These are precious factors against the backdrop of the current financial crisis.’

 (Final Report of the expert group, overview of family-business-relevant issues: research, networks, policy measures and existing studies, November 2009) 

Objectives of European Family Businesses

The objectives of European Family Businesses are to promote a full understanding of the key role of family-owned enterprises in Europe’s economy, to press for policies that will support the creation of a level playing field for family businesses compared to all other types of companies, and to ensure recognition of their contribution to the entrepreneurial culture and social cohesion in Europe. In addition, European Family Businesses represents and supports the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Family Business in Europe

The common feature of the Family Business companies is that of the family dimension, where business and ownerships are intertwined. Family businesses can be small, medium sized or large, listed or unlisted. Family businesses in Europe have been widely equated to Small and Medium- Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in public and policy discussions. However, this neglects the fact that there are also large family businesses.

Family businesses make up more than 60 % of all European companies, and they account for about 40 % - 50 % of employment, encompassing a vast range of firms of different sizes and from different sectors. Most SMEs (especially micro and small enterprises) are family businesses and a large majority of family companies are SMEs. Family Businesses constitute to a substantial part of existing European companies and have a significant role to play in the strength and dynamism of the European economy.

European Family Businesses represents in Europe:

1 – Over 1 trillion euros in aggregated turnover
2 - 9% of the European Union’s GDP
3 - More than 5 million jobs