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Entrepreneurship not in Europe's blood?

A study finds that Europeans are less interested in being their own boss than Americans, with more Europeans anxious about bankruptcy.

The next, Yahoo or Google appears less likely to come from Europe than the United States, according to a new study on entrepreneurship from the European Commission.

Forty-five percent of Europeans would like to be their own boss, compared with 61 percent of Americans, according to the report, published Monday. Factors linked to Europeans' relative aversion to starting up a business include a stronger emphasis on job stability and more anxiety about the possibility of bankruptcy, according to the report.

But European leaders are trying to encourage more citizens to become like Jeff Bezos, Jerry Yang or Sergey Brin. "Entrepreneurs are the economic DNA which we need to build competitiveness and innovation in Europe," European Commissioner Gunter Verheugen said in a statement.

The survey, which was conducted last April and involved telephone interviews of more than 21,000 people, found that just 2 percent of Europeans were actually in the process of setting up a business, compared with 8 percent of Americans.

One sign of hope for Europeans stems from stronger entrepreneurial spirit in the newer members of the European Union. Overall, a third of EU citizens not self-employed would consider setting up a business in the next five years, but that figure was 40 percent in the new-member states. The 10 newest members of the EU include the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

Forty-five percent of Europeans were worried about the possibility of bankruptcy, according to the report, contrasting with 36 percent of Americans. In addition, 35 percent of Europeans were worried about losing property if their businesses were to fail, compared with just 21 percent of Americans.