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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.

Burden of government regulation

The indicator is measured 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)’. Higher values indicate a better performance (i.e. less burdensome regulation). 

In 2022, stakeholders’ perception of the regulatory burden in the EU was on average 3.8, up from 3.6 in 2021. 

The right axis of the chart also indicates the percentage change since 2019. Over the previous 3 years the indicator shows that there have been improvements in 22 Member States. 

No data are available for Croatia for 2022.

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.

100% of key public services should be available online for European citizens and businesses by 2030 (target set in the 2030 Digital Compass).

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

In 2022 the EU values of the digital public services for businesses index are between 44.6 and 100, with an EU average of 83.7. More than 70% of the EU countries show a score above 80.

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.

According to the European Payment Report 2023, the average delay in payments by public authorities was more than 17 days. This is a significant increase from before the COVID-19 pandemic and a slight increase compared to 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

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

No data are available for Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta.

2020 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 2023. 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. Currently resolving insolvency takes on overage 2 years in the EU. This period can go up to 4 years in some Member States.

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 2020: a negative number indicates an improvement (a less negative perception) as regards the impact of regulation.

The chart shows that, according to stakeholders’ perceptions, business regulation is an obstacle to investment activities in significantly different ways. Danish business regulation is perceived as the least obstructive at 29%, with a small improvement over the last 3 years. Greek, Cypriot, Latvian and Portuguese business regulation is perceived as the most obstructive to investments (above 75%). Of these four, only Greece’s situation has improved over the last 3 years. Overall, while most businesses surveyed by the EIB view business regulation as an obstacle to long-term investment, the percentage with that view has fallen from 65% in 2020 to 61% in 2023.

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

Source: EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS), 2023

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