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Single Market Scoreboard

Responsive administration and burden of regulation

Administration, rules and the single market – why does it matter?

One of the aims of the single market regulatory framework is to support investment and entrepreneurship by reducing unnecessary regulatory burden and promoting good administrative practices. These aspects are important to create a favourable business environment for all economic actors and in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The indicators in this section measure national administrations’ responsiveness to businesses needs and the extent to which stakeholders perceive regulation as burdensome.

These indicators suggest that while overall business framework conditions are improving in the single market, difficulties remain in specific areas. In 2021, stakeholders’ perception of the regulatory burden in the EU ranged on average between 3.5 and 4, on a scale of 0 (highest burden) to 7 (lowest burden), with improvements in 23 Member States over the previous 3 years. In 2020, the score on the provision of digital public services for businesses was approximately 80% or more than 80% for two thirds of Member States. By contrast, in 2022 average delays in payment by public authorities stood at almost 16 days, a significant increase from pre-pandemic times, with 19 out of 27 Member States showing higher public payment delays than in 2019. The time taken to resolve insolvency remained overall stable, suggesting that there have been no major changes in insolvency legislation in Member States over the past years. Stakeholders’ perceptions of regulation’s impact on long-term investment decisions improved in relation to most Member States and on average by 5% in the whole single market.

Burden of government regulation

This indicator measures the burden of government regulation by tracking replies to the survey question: "In your country, how easy is it for companies to comply with government regulation and administrative requirements (e.g. permits, reporting, legislation)? (1 = Overly-complex; 7 = Extremely easy)".

This indicator is on a 1-7 scale, with 1 being the worst and 7 being the best. Higher values indicate a better performance (i.e. less burdensome regulation).

The right axis of the chart also indicates the percentage change since 2018.

Source: World Economic Forum

Digital public services for businesses

This indicator assesses to what extent informational and transactional public services needed to start a business and conduct regular business operations are available online for domestic and foreign users. Services provided through a portal receive a higher score, while services providing information only (but which have to be completed offline) receive a lower score.

Each country's score can range from 0 (low performance) to 100 (top performance).

Source: DESI, eGovernment Benchmark 

Payment delays by public authorities

This indicator measures delays by public authorities in making payments to businesses. The indicator shows the number of days by which public authorities missed contractual payment deadlines.

Lower values indicate a better performance, as the goal is to reduce payment delays. Negative figures are possible and desirable (these would indicate that the public authorities pay on average earlier than stipulated in the contract).

No data are available for Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta.

2019 data are given for comparison instead of growth rates, as with small values (number of days) the growth rate varies widely between countries.

Source: Intrum, European Payment Report 2022. Survey-based indicator by asking businesses about payment delays.

Time to resolve insolvency (years)

The indicator measures the time creditors need to recover what they are owed. The time runs from the company's default until the payment of some or all of the money owed to the bank. Potential delaying tactics, such as the filing of dilatory appeals or requests for extension are taken into consideration.

This indicator is in calendar years. The shorter the time taken to resolve the insolvency, the better for the business environment and for giving honest entrepreneurs a second chance.

The indicator is relatively stable over-time, unless there is a change to the insolvency legislation. 

Source: World Bank, Doing Business Report 2020. The data are collected from questionnaire responses by local insolvency practitioners and verified through the study of laws, regulations and public information on bankruptcy systems.

Impact of regulation on long-term investment decisions

This indicator measures the share of respondents to the European Investment Bank (EIB) Investment Survey that consider a country’s business regulation as a major or minor obstacle to long-term investment decisions.

The chart's right-hand axis shows the percentage change in the relevant share since 2019: a negative number indicates an improvement (a less negative perception) as regards the impact of regulation.

More information on the EIB Investment Survey and the specific indicator can be found on: EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS)

Source: EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS), 2022

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