Doing Business in the European Union 2020: Greece, Ireland and Italy assesses the regulatory environment for businesses and its impact on local entrepreneurs in 6 cities in Greece (Alexandroupoli, Athens, Heraklion, Larissa, Patra and Thessaloniki), 5 cities in Ireland (Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford) and 13 cities in Italy (Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Padua, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Rome and Turin). The study measures regulations relevant to five stages in the life of a small to medium-size domestic firm: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property and enforcing contracts. In each of these areas, the study highlights good practices that can be leveraged to empower local entrepreneurs and firms.
Doing Business in the European Union is a series of subnational studies requested and funded by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, and produced by the World Bank Group. Previous editions, covering cities from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia, were released in 2017-2018.
- Of the six cities benchmarked in Greece, none excels in all five areas measured. It is easier for entrepreneurs to start a business in Alexandroupoli and deal with construction permits in Larissa. Patra leads in the areas of getting electricity and registering property and Thessaloniki stands out for its performance in enforcing contracts.
- The different strengths of these six cities mean they all have something to share with and learn from each other. All Greek cities operate under the same national legal framework, so changes can be made without major legislative overhaul.
- Greek cities are already European Union best performers in the area of starting a business, requiring only three procedures. But significant disparities in regulatory performance remain in the other four areas benchmarked: dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, and enforcing contracts.
- For example, trial time for a commercial dispute at the local first instance court varies from a year and eight months in Thessaloniki to just under four years in Athens. Developers in Larissa can obtain all necessary approvals to build a warehouse and connect it to utilities in less than 5 months, while their counterparts in Heraklion need to wait almost twice as much, the report finds.
- While rankings are relative, according to the global Doing Business 2020 report, Greece would have ranked 61st out of 190 economies – 18 positions higher than its actual rank – if Athens had replicated the good practices of the best performing Greek city in each area measured.