France is worst place in Europe, and second worst globally, for business

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France is the worst place in Europe to do business, even worse than Poland. According to a new business survey, it is also the second worst place to do business globally after Brazil.

France is the second most complex jurisdiction in which to do business, according to the Global Business Complexity Index (GBCI), a report by the professional services firm, TMF Group.

Across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, France is joined by Poland near the top of the rankings, as the tenth least business friendly country in which to operate.

The study analysed rules, regulations, tax rates, penalties and compliance issues across 77 jurisdictions, which account for 92 per cent of the world’s total GDP and 95 per cent of net global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. In total, 292 indicators are tracked annually, offering data on key aspects of doing business, including incorporation timelines, payroll and benefits requirements, and compliance procedures.

Juraj Gerzeni, Head of EMEA Management at TMF Group said, “2021 has been a difficult year due to the pandemic but it has been a positive surprise to note how companies and local governments have been coping with the challenges. The region is marked by different approaches, but resilience is the common factor. It is very good to see how countries such as France are willing to go through a series of overhauls to foster the appetite of international investors.”

France’s second place is driven by complexities in accounting and tax processes, its heavily employee-centric HR regulations, and local language requirements for accounts reporting. Despite the introduction of “Business France” – a website to assist foreign companies to remain compliant with French accounting standards – businesses may still struggle due to the constant changes to those standards. HR and payroll is also heavily regulated, and employment litigation outcomes are usually in favour of employees. Firing an underperforming worker can take up to 12 weeks, as opposed to one week in Ireland, for instance.

Poland, which ranked the 34th most complex country in 2020, is now the tenth least business friendly country to operate in globally. Reasons can be found in an always evolving legislative scenario, which leaves business little time to react and implement changes in accordance with new laws. In addition, despite the government has adopted electronic signatures, Polish authorities don’t accept many international signature providers, and instead require signatures from specific local providers, adding to complexity in the jurisdiction.

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.


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