Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Doing Business in Greece vs. the EU, USA, Australia, Canada

db.jpgThe World Bank evaluated and ranked 178 economies worldwide to evaluate the ease of conducting business for its “Doing Business 2008” annual report.

This post was compiled from straightforward stats of each element in individual country profiles, then arranged in ascending/descending order according to favorability, an option not available on the World Bank website. It is a convenience provided for my readers — it is not my methodology, and it is not an analysis.

*Those seeking analysis specific to Greece can source a list I included at the end of this post. None of the articles on the list were used to write this one.

Starting a business in Greece

If you came to this post by mistake and seek practical information on starting a business in Greece, go to “How to start a business in Greece.”

Country Selection

For the purpose of this site’s target audience, the field was narrowed to:

a) High income EU member states, which includes Greece (marked in blue);

b) Czech Republic, a high middle income country with nearly the same population as Greece for comparison purposes, to dispel the belief that efficiency is tied to wealth;

c) Bulgaria, a low income country for comparison purposes, to show that new members are not inferior;

d) USA, Canada and Australia, where many of Greece’s immigrants or repatriated citizens hail;

e) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) region average, of which Greece is a member.

It is assumed that those interested in this topic are familiar with the terms and ratings referenced, therefore lengthy explanations on methodology and technical descriptions were not included, although you are free to go directly to the World Bank and view them. Links can be clicked to expand any topic in more detail.

* If your country is not listed above, click the link I’ve provided at the end of each section that will take you to the topic of concern, then find your country on the alphabetical list.


The overall ranking reflects the performance of each country amongst all elements, including starting a business, dealing with licenses, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

Each of these elements is given a section below marked in CAPS and color-coded, first showing the overall ranking of countries for that element, then a breakdown of how that ranking was obtained.

As the public sector is a major and often vital factor contributing to economic growth and the creation of jobs, a favorable business climate is essential to the well-being and prosperity of a country’s economy.

3. USA
5. Denmark
6. UK
7. Canada
8. Ireland
9. Australia
11. Norway
13. Finland
14. Sweden
16. Switzerland
19. Belgium
20. Germany
21. Netherlands
25. Austria
31. France
37. Portugal
38. Spain
42. Luxembourg
46. Bulgaria
53. Italy
56. Czech Republic
100. Greece

* See “Rankings” in its entirety


To get a sense of the westernized and EU countries presented, a ranking according to gross national income (GNI) per capita (Latin for ‘per person’) and respective population is provided.

GNI is the total value of goods and services produced within a country (i.e. gross domestic product or GDP), plus income received from other countries, minus similar payments made to other countries.

Country GNI/capita Population
High income
Luxembourg 76,040.00 462,041
Norway 66,530.00 4,643,659
Switzerland 57,230.00 7,441,474
Denmark 51,700.00 5,428,524
Ireland 45,580.00 4,209,446
USA 44,970.00 298,988,098
Sweden 43,580.00 9,045,727
Netherlands 42,670.00 16,371,353
Finland 40,650.00 5,255,049
UK 40,180.00 60,360,799
Austria 39,590.00 8,240,028
Belgium 38,600.00 10,485,710
Germany 36,620.00 82,411,438
France 36,550.00 61,037,508
Canada 36,170.00 32,556,462
Australia 35,990.00 20,520,941
Italy 32,020.00 58,570,995
Spain 27,570.00 43,546,304
Greece 21,690.00 11,112,985
Portugal 18,100.00 10,589,652
High middle income
Czech Republic 12,680.00 10,218,425
Low income
Bulgaria 3,990.00 7,699,020

To view a country’s individual profile, go to the World Bank Doing Business site and select the ‘economy’ of your choice in the right upper corner. All are available in English, Espanol, Francais, Portugues, Russian, Chinese and Arabic.


The ease in starting a business sets the tone for a long and hopefully prosperous relationship between investors and the country of concern.

1. Australia
2. Canada
4. USA
5. Ireland
6. UK
16. Finland
18. Denmark
19. Belgium
22. Sweden
28. Norway
35. Switzerland
38. Portugal
41. Luxembourg
41. Netherlands
65. Italy
71. Germany
83. Austria
91. Czech Republic
100. Bulgaria
118. Spain
152. Greece

See “Starting a Business” in its entirety or view the steps in detail at, “How to start a new business in Greece.”


Procedures refers to the bureaucracy and legal hurdles involved for an entrepreneur to register a new business, with the intention of launching a commercial or industrial firm with up to 50 employees.

# of steps Country
2 Australia, Canada
3 Belgium, Finland, Sweden
4 Denmark, Ireland
5 France
6 OECD, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, UK, USA
7 Portugal
8 Austria
9 Bulgaria, Germany, Italy
10 Czech Republic, Spain
15 Greece


Duration is the average amount of time spent to complete all business startup procedures.

# of days Country
2 Australia
3 Canada
4 Belgium
6 Denmark, USA
7 France, Portugal
10 Netherlands, Norway
13 Ireland, Italy, UK
14 Finland
14.9 OECD
15 Sweden
17 Czech Republic
18 Germany
20 Switzerland
26 Luxembourg
28 Austria
32 Bulgaria
38* Greece
47 Spain

* In reality, it may be more like 180 days; for non-EU citizens, it could be at least a year or never.


The official cost of completing all procedures to start a business, expressed in percentage of GNI per capita. This figure does not include bribes or other unofficial expenses, which may be required or requested in some countries.

% of GNI/capita Country
0 Denmark
0.3 Ireland
0.6 Sweden
0.7 USA
0.8 Australia, UK
0.9 Canada
1.0 Finland
1.1 France
2.1 Switzerland
2.3 Luxembourg, Norway
3.4 Portugal
5.1 OECD
5.3 Belgium
5.4 Austria
5.7 Germany
6.0 Netherlands
8.4 Bulgaria
10.6 Czech Republic
15.1 Spain
18.7 Italy
23.3 Greece

Minimum capital

The minimum amount of capital needed to start a business, expressed as a percentage of GNI per capita.

% of GNI/capita Country
0 Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, UK, USA
7.7 Finland
9.8 Italy
13.7 Spain
13.9 Switzerland
20.1 Belgium
20.5 Luxembourg
23.4 Norway
31.1 Sweden
32.5 OECD
34.7 Portugal
40.7 Denmark
42.8 Germany
34.9 Czech Republic
52.9 Netherlands
55.5 Austria
56.3 Bulgaria
104.1 Greece


Most businesses need a warehouse, which requires securing licenses and permits, passing inspections and connecting utilities.

6. Denmark
16. Germany
17. France
17. Sweden
20. Ireland
24. USA
26. Canada
29. Switzerland
36. Luxembourg
37. Belgium
39. Finland
40. Austria
42. Greece
46. Spain
52 Australia
54. UK
55. Norway
78. Italy
83. Czech Republic
84. Netherlands
103. Bulgaria
112. Portugal

See “Dealing with Licenses” in its entirety.


# of steps Country
6 Denmark
8 Sweden
11 Ireland, Spain
12 Germany
13 Austria, France, Luxembourg
14 OECD, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Norway
15 Greece
16 Australia
18 Finland, Netherlands
19 UK, USA
20 Portugal
22 Bulgaria
36 Czech Republic


# of days Country
38 Finland
40 USA
69 Denmark
75 Canada
100 Germany
116 Sweden
131 Bulgaria
137 France
144 UK
153.3 OECD
154 Switzerland
169 Belgium, Greece
180 Czech Republic
185 Ireland
194 Austria
217 Luxembourg
221 Australia
230 Netherlands
233 Spain
252 Norway
257 Italy
327 Portugal

Average Cost

% of GNI/capita Country
13.2 Australia
13.4 USA
18.5 Czech Republic
19.4 Luxembourg
19.8 Ireland
24.9 France
46.2 Norway
52.7 Switzerland
54.0 Portugal
61.7 Greece
61.8 Denmark
62.2 OECD
63.1 Germany
63.7 Belgium
64.6 UK
64.9 Spain
73.7 Austria
76.0 Netherlands
106.4 Sweden
122.3 Finland
125.4 Canada
138.2 Italy
499.99 Bulgaria


1. USA
8. Australia
10. Denmark
19. Canada
20. Switzerland
21. UK
36. Belgium
37. Ireland
55. Czech Republic
56. Italy
57. Bulgaria
62. Austria
92. Netherlands
94. Norway
107. Sweden
127. Finland
137. Germany
142. Greece
144. France
154 Spain
157. Portugal
164. Luxembourg

See “Employing Workers” in its entirety.

Difficulty in hiring

The ease or difficulty in hiring new employees depends not only on the availability or surplus of candidates, but how suited they are to job vacancies (overqualified/underqualified) and labor regulations.

Rating Country
0 Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, USA
11 Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, UK
17 Bulgaria, Netherlands, Sweden
25.2 OECD
33 Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Portugal
44 Finland, Greece
61 Norway
67 France, Luxembourg
78 Spain

Rigidity of hours index

Rigidity of hours refers to restrictions on lengthening or shortening the number of working hours. Countries with a ‘0’ rating have the most flexibility, usually offering a number of shifts (day/night/graveyard), part-time/full-time possibilities and job sharing.

Rating Country
0 Australia, Canada, UK, USA
20 Denmark, Ireland
39.2 OECD
40 Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland
60 Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden
80 Greece, Luxembourg

Difficulty of firing index

Ease and expense involved in dismissing a redundant employee.

Rating Country
0 Canada, USA
10 Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Switzerland, UK
20 Czech Republic, Ireland
27.9 OECD
30 Spain
40 Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden
50 Portugal
70 Netherlands 70

Rigidity of employment

Rigidity of employment refers to the average of the above three ratings: difficulty in hiring, rigidity of hours, difficulty in firing.

Rating Country
3 Australia
4 Canada
7 UK
10 Denmark
17 Ireland, Switzerland
20 Belgium
29 Bulgaria
30.8 OECD
31 Czech Republic
37 Austria
39 Sweden
42 Netherlands
44 Germany
47 Norway
48 Finland, Portugal
55 Greece
56 France, Spain
62 Luxembourg

Non-wage labor cost

% of salary Country
1 Denmark
11 Ireland, UK
13 Canada, Luxembourg
14 Norway
15 Switzerland
18 Netherlands
19 Germany
20 Australia
20.7 OECD
23 Bulgaria
24 Portugal
26 Finland
28 Greece
31 Austria
32 Sweden
33 Spain
35 Czech Republic
38 Italy
47 France
55 Belgium

Firing costs (weeks of wages)

The cost of firing a redundant employee. Some countries have regulations that require a payout of compensation, others do not.

# weeks Country
0 Denmark, USA
2 Austria
4 Australia
9 Bulgaria
13 Norway, Switzerland
16 Belgium
17 Netherlands
22 Czech Republic, UK
24 Greece, Ireland
25.7 OECD
26 Finland, Sweden
28 Canada
32 France
37 Italy
39 Luxembourg
56 Spain
69 Germany
95 Portugal


Most entrepreneurs require land, a building and/or an office space. The World Bank evaluated this topic on the assumption the property is in the country’s biggest city, previously registered (not newly built) and free of title dispute.

6. Norway
7. Sweden
10. USA
12. Switzerland
17. Finland
17. Australia
19. UK
22. Netherlands
28. Canada
30. Austria
39. Denmark
42. Spain
47. Germany
49. Italy
54. Czech Republic
62. Bulgaria
65. Portugal
79. Ireland
93. Greece
116. Luxembourg
159. France
161. Belgium

See “Registering Property” in its entirety.


The number of procedures legally required to register property.

# weeks
1 Norway, Sweden
2 Netherlands, UK
3 Finland
4 Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, USA
5 Australia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal
6 Canada, Denmark
6.4 OECD average
7 Belgium
8 Luxembourg, Spain
9 Bulgaria, France
12 Greece


The average amount of time spent completing procedures.

# of days Country
2 Sweden
3 Norway
5 Australia, Netherlands
12 USA
14 Finland
16 Switzerland
17 Canada
18 Spain
19 Bulgaria
21 UK
23 Greece
27 Italy
29 Luxembourg
32 Austria
38 Ireland
40 Germany
42 Denmark, Portugal
123 Czech Republic, France
132 Belgium

Cost of registering property

Fees, transfer taxes, stamp duties and other payments for property registry, notaries, public agencies or lawyers. The cost is expressed as a percentage of the property value, assuming a property value of 50 times income per capita.

% property value
0.4 Switzerland
0.5 USA
0.6 Denmark, Italy
1.8 Canada
2.3 Bulgaria
2.5 Norway
3.0 Czech Republic, Sweden
4.0 Finland, Greece
4.1 UK
4.6 OECD
4.5 Austria
4.9 Australia
5.2 Germany
6.1 France
6.2 Netherlands
7.1 Spain
7.4 Portugal
10.2 Ireland, Luxembourg
12.7 Belgium


According to the World Bank, this section “covers credit information registries and the effectiveness of collateral and bankruptcy laws in facilitating lending to entrepreneurs.”

1. UK
3. Australia
3. Germany
7. Canada
7. Ireland
7. USA
13. Bulgaria
13. Denmark
13. Netherlands
13. Spain
26. Austria
26. Czech Republic
26. Finland
26. Switzerland
36. France
36. Norway
36. Sweden
48. Belgium
68. Italy
68. Portugal
84. Greece
97. Luxembourg

See “Getting Credit” in its entirety.

Legal Rights Index

The Legal Rights Index measures the degree to which collateral and bankruptcy laws facilitate lending, with ’10’ being the highest rating.

Rating Country
10 UK
9 Australia
8 Denmark, Germany, Ireland
7 Canada, Netherlands, USA
6.4 OECD
6 Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
5 Austria, Belgium
4 Portugal
3 Greece, Italy

Credit Information Index

The Credit Information Index assesses rules affecting the scope, access and quality of credit information, with ’10’ being the highest rating.

Rating Country
6 Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Spain, UK, USA
5 Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland
4.8 OECD
4 Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Sweden
0 Luxembourg

Public registry coverage

A country’s combined percentage of public and private data should be considered when understanding the full scope of coverage. i.e. The USA has 0% public, but 100% private. Greece, on the other hand, has a combined percentage of 38%.

% Country
67.1 Portugal
57.2 Belgium
44.9 Spain
25.4 Bulgaria
24.8 France
11.0 Italy
8.6 OECD
4.2 Czech Republic
1.3 Austria
0.7 Germany
0 Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA

Private bureau coverage

% Country
100 Australia, Canada, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, USA
98.1 Germany
84.6 UK
78.1 Netherlands
71.5 Italy
59.3 OECD
53.0 Czech Republic
40.6 Austria
38.7 Greece
24.0 Switzerland
14.9 Finland
11.5 Denmark
11.3 Portugal
8.3 Spain
3.0 Bulgaria
0 Belgium, France, Luxembourg


Investors must be assured their interests are protected and empowered with an avenue of recourse. This topic measures the strength of minority shareholder protections against misuse of corporate assets by directors for their personal gain.

5. Canada
5. Ireland
5. USA
9. UK
12. Belgium
15. Norway
19. Denmark
33. Bulgaria
33. Portugal
51. Australia
51. Finland
51. Italy
51. Sweden
64. France
83. Czech Republic
83. Germany
83. Spain
98. Netherlands
107. Luxembourg
122. Austria
158. Greece
158. Switzerland

See “Protecting Investors” in its entirety.

Disclosure Index

The Extent of Disclosure Index measures the transparency of transactions, with ’10’ being the highest rating.

Rating Country
10 Bulgaria, France, Ireland, UK
8 Australia, Belgium, Canada
7 Denmark, Italy, Norway, USA
6.4 OECD
6 Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden
5 Germany, Spain
4 Netherlands
3 Austria
2 Czech Republic
1 Greece
0 Switzerland


The Extent of Director Liability Index measures the liability for self-dealing, with ’10’ being the highest rating.

Rating Country
9 Canada, USA
7 UK
6 Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Spain
5.1 OECD
5 Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland
4 Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden
3 Greece
2 Australia
1 Bulgaria, France

Shareholder Suits Index

The Ease of Shareholder Suits Index measures the shareholders’ ability to sue officers and directors for misconduct, with ’10’ being the highest rating.

Rating Country
9 Ireland, USA
8 Canada, Czech Republic
7 Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, UK
6.5 OECD
5 Italy, Netherlands, France, Germany, Greece
4 Austria, Spain, Switzerland
3 Luxembourg

Investor Protection Index

The Investor Protection Index is the combined strength of all three indices above — Extent of Disclosure Index, Extent of Director Liability Index, Ease of Shareholder Suit Index — with ’10’ being the highest possible rating.

Rating Country
8.3 Canada, Ireland, USA
8.0 UK
7.0 Belgium
6.7 Norway
6.3 Denmark
6.0 OECD, Bulgaria, Portugal
5.7 Australia, Finland, Italy, Sweden
5.3 France
5.0 Czech Republic, Germany, Spain
4.7 Netherlands
4.3 Luxembourg
4.0 Austria
3.0 Greece, Switzerland


Paying Taxes addresses taxes and mandatory contributions that a mid-sized company must pay or withhold annually, in addition to administrative burden.

6. Ireland
12. UK
13. Denmark
15. Switzerland
16. Norway
17. Luxembourg
25. Canada
36. Netherlands
41. Australia
42. Sweden
65. Belgium
66. Portugal
67. Germany
76. USA
80. Austria
82. France
83. Finland
86. Greece
88. Bulgaria
93. Spain
113. Czech Republic
122. Italy

See “Paying Taxes” in its entirety.

Tax Payments

Total number of tax payments per year.

# Country
2 Sweden
4 Norway
8 Portugal, Spain, UK
9 Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands
10 USA
11 Belgium
12 Australia, Czech Republic
15 Italy
15.1 OECD
16 Germany
17 Bulgaria
20 Finland
21 Greece
22 Austria, Luxembourg
23 France
24 Switzerland


The time it takes to prepare, file and pay or withhold corporate income tax, value added tax (VAT) and social security/insurance contributions.

Hours Country
58 Luxembourg
63 Switzerland
76 Ireland
87 Norway
105 UK
107 Australia
119 Canada
122 Sweden
132 France
135 Denmark
156 Belgium
170 Austria
180 Netherlands
183.3 OECD
196 Germany
264 Greece
269 Finland
298 Spain
325 USA
328 Portugal
360 Italy 360
616 Bulgaria
930 Czech Republic

Profit tax

The average amount of declared taxes on profits paid by the business, expressed as a percentage of commercial profits. Unofficial or undeclared profits and tax dodging are separate matters and not included.

% Country
5.4 Belgium
5.9 Czech Republic
6.6 Bulgaria
8.3 France
8.4 Switzerland
14.2 Ireland
15.1 Austria, Greece
15.2 Portugal
16.5 Sweden
16.7 Luxembourg
17.0 Finland
20.0 OECD
21.3 UK
21.6 Germany
23.7 Spain
24.9 Norway
26.0 Canada, Netherlands
26.9 Australia
28.0 Denmark
30.8 Italy

Labor tax and contributions

Labor tax and contributions include mandatory social security contributions paid by the employer both to public and private entities, as well as other taxes or contributions related to employing workers, and is expressed as a percentage of commercial profits. Illegal employment is a separate matter and not included.

% Country
2.5 Denmark
11.3 UK
12.1 Ireland
12.3 Canada
15.8 Netherlands
15.9 Norway
16.7 Luxembourg
17.2 Switzerland
21.7 Germany
22.2 Australia
22.8 OECD
26.6 Bulgaria
26.8 Portugal
27.1 USA
29.7 Finland
31.7 Greece
34.5 Austria
36.4 Sweden
37.6 Spain
39.5 Czech Republic
43.2 Italy
52.1 France
57.1 Belgium

Other taxes

Mandatory taxes and contributions outside the first two categories.

% Country
0.8 Spain
1.0 Finland
1.3 Norway
1.5 Australia
1.6 Netherlands
1.7 Sweden
1.8 Belgium
1.9 Greece, Luxembourg
2.2 Italy
2.6 Ireland
2.7 Denmark
2.8 Portugal
3.2 Czech Republic, UK
3.4 OECD
3.5 Bulgaria
3.6 Switzerland
5.0 Austria
5.8 France
7.5 Germany
7.6 Canada
9.5 USA

Total tax rate

Total amount of mandatory taxes and contributions paid by a business, expressed as a percentage of profit.

% of profit
28.9 Ireland
29.1 Switzerland
33.3 Denmark
35.3 Luxembourg
35.7 UK
36.7 Bulgaria
42.0 Norway
43.4 Netherlands
44.8 Portugal
45.9 Canada
46.2 OECD, USA
47.8 Finland
48.6 Czech Republic, Greece
50.6 Australia
50.8 Germany
54.5 Sweden
54.6 Austria
62.0 Spain
64.3 Belgium
66.3 France
76.2 Italy


The bureaucracy and ability to facilitate efficient and timely trade can greatly contribute or hamper a prosperous export/import relationship.

Trading Across Borders examines procedural requirements for exporting and importing a standardized cargo of goods. Every official procedure is counted from the contractual agreement between the 2 parties to the delivery of goods, along with the time necessary for completion. Note that a country’s proximity to the sea did not guarantee a lower cost, faster shipment or higher rating.

2. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Finland
6. Sweden
10. Germany
12. Austria
14. Netherlands
15. USA
20. Ireland
25. France
27. UK
30. Czech Republic
31. Portugal
32. Luxembourg
34. Australia
37. Switzerland
39. Canada
47. Spain
48. Belgium
62. Italy
65. Greece
89. Bulgaria

See “Trading Across Borders” in its entirety.

Documents for export

# Country
3 Canada
4 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA
4.5 OECD
5 Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg
6 Australia, Portugal, Spain

Time for export

# of days
5 Denmark
6 Luxembourg, Netherlands, USA
7 Canada, Germany, Ireland, Norway
8 Austria, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland
9 Australia, Spain
9.8 OECD
11 France
13 UK
16 Czech Republic, Portugal
20 Greece, Italy
23 Bulgaria

Cost to export (per container)

US$ Country
420 Finland
518 Norway
540 Denmark
561 Sweden
580 Portugal
740 Germany
775 Czech Republic
843 Austria
880 Netherlands
905 OECD
930 Australia
940 UK
960 USA
998 Greece
1000 Spain
1028 France
1090 Ireland
1238 Switzerland
1250 Luxembourg
1291 Italy
1329 Bulgaria
1385 Canada
1600 Belgium

Documents for import

# Country
3 Denmark, Sweden
4 Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, UK
5 OECD, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, USA,
6 Australia, Greece
7 Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Portugal
8 Spain

Time for import

# of days
1 Australia
5 Denmark, USA
6 Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden
8 Germany, Norway, Austria, Finland
9 Belgium, Switzerland
10 Spain
10.4 OECD
11 Canada
12 France, Ireland
13 UK
16 Portugal
18 Czech Republic, Italy
21 Bulgaria
25 Greece

Cost to import (per container)

US$ Country
420 Finland
468 Norway
540 Denmark
619 Sweden
765 Germany
843 Austria
860 Czech Republic
940 UK
986.1 OECD
994 Portugal
1000 Spain
1005 Netherlands
1120 Australia
1139 Ireland
1148 France
1160 USA
1245 Greece
1250 Luxembourg
1291 Italy
1333 Switzerland
1377 Bulgaria
1425 Canada
1600 Belgium


Enforcing Contracts measures the efficiency of contract enforcement by following the evolution of a sale of goods dispute and tracking the time, cost and number of procedures involved from the moment the plaintiff files the lawsuit until actual payment.

2. Luxembourg
6. Austria
7. Finland
8. USA
9. Norway
11. Australia
14. France
15. Germany
22. Belgium
24. UK
25. Switzerland
30. Denmark
36. Netherlands
39. Ireland
43. Canada
49. Portugal
53. Sweden
55. Spain
87. Greece
90. Bulgaria
97. Czech Republic
155. Italy

See “Enforcing Contracts” in its entirety.


The number of steps a plaintiff must take from the moment (s)he files a lawsuit in court until payment disbursement.

# of steps Country
20 Ireland
25 Netherlands
26 Austria, Luxembourg
27 Belgium, Czech Republic
28 Australia
30 France, Sweden, UK
31.3 OECD
32 Switzerland, USA
33 Finland, Germany, Norway
34 Denmark
35 Portugal
36 Canada
39 Greece, Spain
40 Bulgaria
41 Italy


The average number of calendar days it took to resolve the dispute.

# of days
233 Finland
262 Australia
300 USA
310 Norway
321 Luxembourg
331 France
340 Denmark
394 Germany
397 Austria
404 UK
417 Switzerland
443.3 OECD
505 Belgium
508 Sweden
514 Netherlands
515 Ireland, Spain
564 Bulgaria
570 Canada
577 Portugal
819 Greece
820 Czech Republic
1210 Italy

Cost (% of claim)

Cost of court and attorney fees, where the use of attorneys is mandatory or common, expressed as a percentage of the dispute’s debt value.

% of Country
8.8 Luxembourg
9.4 USA
9.9 Norway
10.4 Finland
11.8 Germany
12.7 Austria
14.4 Greece
16.2 Canada
16.6 Belgium
17.2 Spain
17.4 France
17.7 OECD, Portugal
20.7 Australia
21.2 Switzerland
22.2 Bulgaria
23.3 Denmark
23.4 UK
24.4 Netherlands
26.9 Ireland
29.9 Italy
31.3 Sweden
33.0 Czech Republic


According to the World Bank, “Closing a Business identifies weaknesses in existing bankruptcy law and the main procedural and administrative bottlenecks in the bankruptcy process.”

3. Norway
4. Canada
5. Finland
6. Ireland
7. Denmark
8. Netherlands
9. Belgium
10. UK
13. Australia
17. Spain
18. USA
19. Sweden
20. Portugal
21. Austria
25. Italy
29. Germany
32. France
33. Switzerland
38. Greece
46. Luxembourg
72. Bulgaria
108. Czech Republic

See “Closing a Business” in its entirety.


The average time it takes to close a business, expressed in years.

# of years
0.4 Ireland
0.8 Canada
0.9 Belgium, Finland, Norway
1.0 Australia, Spain, UK
1.1 Austria, Denmark, Netherlands
1.2 Germany
1.3 OECD
1.5 USA
1.8 Italy
1.9 France
2.0 Greece, Portugal, Luxembourg, Sweden
3.0 Switzerland
3.3 Bulgaria
6.5 Czech Republic

Cost (% of income per capita)

Cost of bankruptcy proceedings, expressed as a percentage of income per capita.

% Country
1 Norway
4 Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland
6 UK
7.5 OECD
8 Australia, Germany
9 Bulgaria, France, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden
15 Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Spain
18 Austria
22 Italy

Recovery rate (cents on the $)

Recovery rate calculates how many cents on the dollar that claimants (creditors, tax authorities and employees) can expect to recover from an insolvent firm.

USD$ Country
90.7 Norway
88.8 Canada
88.2 Finland
87.1 Ireland
87.0 Denmark
86.7 Netherlands
85.5 Belgium
84.6 UK
79.2 Australia
76.9 Spain
75.9 USA
74.7 Sweden
74.1 OECD
74.0 Portugal
72.4 Austria
61.8 Italy
53.4 Germany
47.4 France
47.1 Switzerland
44.9 Greece
41.6 Luxembourg
32.4 Bulgaria
21.3 Czech Republic


Doing Business — World Bank

Analyses specific to Greece

Greece missing the investment train” – Kathimerini (July 2008)

Crisis is an opportunity” – Kathimerini (July 2008)

Greece, where connections are everything” – Kathimerini (January 2008)

Greek Entrepreneurship Report” — Kathimerini (November 2007)

No grasp of entrepreneurship, originality or management” — Kathimerini (November 2007)

Business expecting better days” — Athens News Agency (September 2007)

“It’s not privatisation if the state still controls it” (link broken) — Athens News Agency (September 2007)

“Entrepreneurship floundering” (link broken) — Athens News (August 2007)

Greek firms thriving outside Greece” — Kathimerini (June 2007)

Photo from the website

* Due to the time-consuming effort to compile stats, arrange rankings and code HTML, the ability to comment will be limited.
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  yiannos wrote @ January 9th, 2008 at 22:58


that is all.

  A wrote @ January 11th, 2008 at 22:15

Just another example of why I nominated you for a bloggie today.

Anyone who appreciates this blog can join in, but there are only a few hours left:

  jayson wrote @ January 12th, 2008 at 00:44

i think it was really heard to start business there.

  FMS wrote @ January 13th, 2008 at 01:30

Hard to start a business is the least of it, jayson. Two other things are more important:
(1) If you hold a nationality other than EU it will be almost impossible.
(2) Regardless of your nationality [i.e. applies equally to Greeks], the taxation demands and corruption of the state are horrendous. These do not appear in any official figures, so Greece looks like a low-tax country on paper. Of course, if you are one of the super-rich here, it is low-tax; if you are a normal person, it is a nightmare to be self-employed.

  Jane wrote @ January 18th, 2008 at 12:20

Hi Kat. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your diligence and hard work in putting together this cite. I, too, am an American, and so love it here but realize what I wanted to accomplish here cannot be done so also will be returning to America soon. I so love the Greek people, the way of life, the history and was hoping to start a very cool business that I think the Greek people could get really excited about. It would also be very good for the tourism economy as well as the locale clientele. Thank you again for your courage.

Wishing you a lot of happiness and satisfaction in your new life in America.

  Yianni wrote @ January 18th, 2008 at 14:56

Okay so ecomonically Greece sucks, you don’t have to be a genius to realize that! I compared Athens to my Toronto (where I lived for 23 years) and Athens can’t even touch Toronto. However all these statistics above are based on what type of businesses? I can’t see it being this bad for every type of business. Yes maybe it is this bad for some guy that wants to come to Athens and open up some big business but how does this compare to some guy who wants to go to some nice little island who want’s to open up a souvlatziviko? What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think those statistics are based on a small time business I think they are more based on bigger corporations etc. I could be mistaken but I know people who are doing well running small businesses in the islands. Then again that’s the islands, Athens is like a whole different country LOL. Take care all.


  FMS wrote @ January 19th, 2008 at 12:09

I think these problems apply particularly to small businesses, because large businesses simply pay large bribes to get things done with the eforia, etc.

I know someone with a small business on an island, and she has told me that the cost of bribes is terrible — to state authorities on the island and also in Athens [just to be permitted to make small changes to the operation of the business] . The cost of setting it up, this was much more of a nightmare!

I have also heard similar things from chief accountants of very big business in Greece. All of these are Greeks, so the situation for foreigners is generally worse.

  pixiemeat wrote @ January 19th, 2008 at 18:07

you should think about using a “more” cut tag on this post.

  Kat wrote @ January 19th, 2008 at 19:07

Y – I thought you’d like this post.

A – Remember a long time ago I told you that I had this post, then lost it and had to start over again. After I blinked in disbelief, I lost the yen to start over, left it and finally here it is. Thank you for the nomination. But please know that I started and continue to maintain this site for a greater purpose, which is to help people through truthtelling. It’s enough that I have your faithful readership and appreciation. 🙂

J – It’s harder as a non-EU citizen, as FMS rightly says. It’s time consuming to maintain through paperwork, as well, which is the reason accountants are important.

M – I can confirm what you say, as a formerly self-employed person. It was already quite difficult before the new rules came into effect, and now a bit harder. Someone I know who owns a small business is taxed a lot more than someone who is very wealthy, thus making the rich richer and the poor poorer. It’s quite unfair.

Jane – Welcome and hello! I’m saddened when I meet people like you who love and want to give so much to this country, but it’s just not possible. I understand what you mean. It’s not that you don’t know what you want or can’t find it, it’s the opposite. It’s the fact you know what you want, you can find it, but the business environment or ethics or bureaucracy make it an uphill battle with no winner. It’s about being sensible, facing reality and going somewhere you can make dreams come true.

Going to the USA is NOT in our plan, though many people assume it is for some reason. It’s being considered as a backup plan or part of a bi-annual split, so we might still see you over there. Please check in again, will you? Let me know how you get on.

Y – The analysis done by the World Bank says this applies to a business with up to 50 employees in the biggest metropolitan city of that country, which I’m pretty sure is stated in the article. So much of it would apply to someone who is self-employed, sans “hiring workers, etc.” I can verify that I went through much of this as a self-employed person, and there was tons of paperwork; the only thing that didn’t apply was hiring workers, warehouse/property, import/export. There are still people out there who owe me money, but it took me 5 years to get a conviction, I haven’t seen a penny and think it’s pointless to spend another 5 years and more of my money to file another lawsuit to force them to pay, without any guarantee of it happening.

M – You speak the truth. I never paid bribes, but I was assessed penalties for the tiniest thing, even things I never knew about.

PM – The only tags on this post are single word country names, doing business 2008 and world bank. How much more “cut” could it be?

  Charles wrote @ March 4th, 2008 at 11:12

some of the above statistics are grossly outdated, especially gdp. Re IMF data Wkikpedia, OECD etc you would be surprised where Greece is.

Some businesses seek out countries where corruption is rife. They actually prosper there. No need to go thru endless red tape when you have connections to bribe and get your way even if it means bending the rules to your benefit. Why do you think First World Companies( multinational companies) open for business in third world countries apart from cheaper wages. They prosper under corrupt officials/gvts

Kat Reply:

Stats above are for GNI, not GDP. I don’t consider Wikipedia to be a legitimate source, Greece doesn’t do much better in OECD (I have the stats), and the World Bank has the same stats as IMF (I looked), so I’m not sure what you’re referring to. The point of the Doing Business report is to give one an overall sense of a country’s business climate, not the economy itself. If corruption is at the top of someone’s list, Greece is your man. However, people visiting this site are predominantly non-EU citizens, who do not start with a level playing field and are not usually interested in throwing away their life’s savings on bribes before a business is even approved by the Ministry.

  Canadian Business Directory wrote @ August 3rd, 2008 at 06:38

I found the statistical comparisons of doing business in the various countries very interesting, even if others may find them slightly inaccurate.

  KT wrote @ September 13th, 2008 at 20:22

The term brain drain comes to mind when I think about Greece.

Think twice before you invest your money in Greece.

  FMS wrote @ September 14th, 2008 at 13:47

The Greek GDP stats now include an extra 15% for corruption and black economy, which is based on precisely zero data. Of course, this is a statistical trick by ND to reduce the ratio of government debt servicing costs to GDP: that is, instead of reducing the debt they falsify the GDP figures by adding 15% to them.

In such a corrupted culture, only corrupted businesses (and persons) can flourish. Welcome to Greece.

  A wrote @ September 15th, 2008 at 01:35

Charles, I’m not sure where the companies that you refer to as “first world” are located, but if they are public in most “first world markets” ex-Russia & China, there is legislation that imposes huge criminal penalties for paying bribes. In the US, it is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. France has similar legislation, which was used against Elf. Canada, UK, and other major economic centers ex Russia and China have the same.

Multinationals do not go to third world markets with the intention of paying a bribe or using a fakula to get through. They come by acquiring existing companies that have structures in place that can be absorbed into the multinational, usually through a non-wholly owned subsidiary, and then they expand through additional capital investment. The fact that it is internal investment usually results in tax holidays and savings beyond labor costs. Additionally, by introducing products established in other markets, they can often quickly build immeasurable brand loyalty transferable to their “family” of products. In some cases, the early years in a region or country are not a break even situation, but the long term fallout benefits of market exposure can be huge. No major multinational that is reporting in a first world market is excited about going into a region where bribery is required for survival. Thus, you will see that these companies are not direct investors in markets like Nigeria and Congo, but rather, the regional subsidiaries handle those areas, at minimal margins and reduced levels of everything (product, service, etc).

  KT wrote @ September 19th, 2008 at 00:35

Giati exoume oli th trela na pame sthn Ellada?

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