World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016 Resume For Emerging Europe

Doing Business 2016

12 Macedonia
16 Estonia
20 Lithuania
22 Latvia
24 Georgia
25 Poland
29 Slovakia
29 Slovenia
35 Armenia
36 Czech Republic
37 Romania
38 Bulgaria
40 Croatia
42 Hungary
44 Belarus
46 Montenegro
52 Moldova
59 Serbia
63 Azerbaijan
66 Kosovo
79 Bosnia Herzegovina
83 Ukraine
97 Albania
Source: World Bank

Almost every single economy in emerging Europe implemented at least one reform in the last year to improve their business environment. In consequence, as many as 16 economies in the region are featured in the Top 50 of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report. Emerging Europe speaks to Rita Ramalho, Manager of the World Bank–IFC Doing Business, who has compiled a resume about the emerging Europe region especially for us, about how the reforms introduced have helped make doing business easier across the region.

Which country is the biggest improver in the latest edition of the report?

Looking at the 22 economies, the biggest improver year-on-year [is] Serbia. Serbia bettered its Distance To Frontier (DTF) score from 65.25 (DB2015) to 68.41 (DB2016) over the past year, while the overall ranking also improved from 68th to 59th. It recorded this improvement in large part thanks to reforms in paying taxes and dealing with construction permits — two areas where Serbia made the most progress globally. This is also a considerable feat because only 33 per cent of economies worldwide reformed in two or more areas.

Rita Ramelho, Manager, Doing Business Unit, World Bank Group (source:

In terms of the reforms undertaken, Serbia made paying taxes easier for companies by introducing an electronic system for filing and paying VAT and social security contributions as well as by abolishing the urban land usage fee. As a result, the time to pay taxes decreased by 12 per cent. The other reform was in dealing with construction permits, which was made less costly for entrepreneurs in Belgrade  through the elimination of the land development tax for warehouses.

One would expect that EU countries would lead in improving their ranking but it is Macedonia that ranks first in the region. Armenia, Belarus and Montenegro are also in the Top 50. What have these countries done to improve their business climate?

Among the economies covered by, it is worth noting that the EU countries perform better than the non-EU ones on the ease of Doing Business. In fact, several economies in the former group are among the top 30: Estonia (rank of 16), Lithuania (20), Latvia (22), Poland (25), the Slovak Republic (29), and Slovenia (also 29). That said, it is indeed [the Republic of] Macedonia that leads in the ranking (12).

Macedonia sets some of the best practices worldwide in areas like starting a business, dealing with construction permits and paying taxes – all areas where the country is in the top 10 globally. On starting a business, for instance, Macedonia is the only economy with New Zealand where entrepreneurs can incorporate in one day or less. In dealing with construction permits, Macedonia scores almost full points (14 out of 15) on the quality control index that measures good practices in construction regulation and assesses the quality control and safety mechanisms.

Regarding Armenia (ranked 35), Belarus (44) and Montenegro (46), all three economies improved their DTF score over the past year thanks to multiple reforms. It should be noted that, going back to 2008, the economies have recorded one reform or more each year in the areas measured by Doing Business – with a particular emphasis on starting a business, getting credit, dealing with construction permits and paying taxes.

Do countries across the region share the same challenges as far as their business climate is concerned or does each country have their own challenges?

Each economy has its unique sets of challenges when it comes to business regulation. For instance, it takes only two days to start a business in Georgia (less than in Australia) compared to 67 days in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Similarly, it takes only 81 hours for a medium sized company in Estonia to comply with tax obligations, compared to 314 hours in Montenegro.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is interesting to observe that, in emerging Europe, there are some common challenges as well as strengths. Looking at the common challenges, economies have considerable room for improvement in the areas of dealing with construction permits (average indicator rank of 86th for the selected group of 22 economies) and getting electricity (86).

On dealing with construction permits, it takes an average of 15 procedures and 167 days in emerging Europe to deal with construction permitting and build a warehouse. In contrast, in OECD high-income economies it takes 12 procedures and 152 days.

On getting electricity, it takes an average of 119 days to get connected to the grid in emerging Europe, compared to 78 days in OECD high-income economies. This is partly because more interactions are required between government agencies and domestic firms (approximately six procedures in emerging Europe vs five in OECD high-income economies).


(Main photo: Belgrade, Serbia — courtesy of Tourist Organisation of Belgrade)


Smart, reliable and promising

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Georgia’s Sweetest Export Targets EU & Japan Expansion

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HSBC Reports CEE Growth Surge in Q3

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Czech Election Result Could Delay Euro Adoption Until 2025

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Czech Land Prices Continue to Increase

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Emerging Europe to Record Positive Growth Across the Board in 2018

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CEE Is Key to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

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IMF Increases Growth Forecast With Emerging Europe Prominent

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EU to Fund New Poland-Slovakia Gas Pipeline

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Poland’s New PM Defends Attacks on Justice System

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Cautious Upturn in Emerging Europe Haunted by the Spectre of Uncertainty

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Budapest and Warsaw: Marriage of Convenience or Union of Values?

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The Belarusian real estate market is on the up

Polish Labour Market Deficits Are Impacting All

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Cabinet Reshuffle In Poland Sees Controversial Ministers Axed

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Does the Sceptre of Separatism Haunt Emerging Europe?

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Estonia Leading CEE Country in WEF Competitiveness Index

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A Risky Evaluation of Croatia’s Economy?

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Belarus and Singapore Share the Same Factors for Economic Success

Bulgaria Keen on Euro Adoption

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Slovenia Sets Green Vehicle Deadline of 2030


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Polish Enterprise Salaries Climb Steeply

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Retail Rents Rise Across Emerging Europe

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HSBC Opens Warsaw China Desk

Estonia Leads Baltics in Cutting Sugar in Food and Drink

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Economic Confidence Rises Across Eurozone

Latvian Deputy Prime Minister Highlights Riga’s Potential


IMF Believes State-Owned Enterprises Must Be Reformed

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How Did We Get Here?

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Belarus Serves up Some Recipes for Success

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Why the Baltic States Should Reject the Nanny State

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Bulgaria Takes on EU Presidency

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Eurasia emerging europe schneider group

UK Economic Growth Slows as Brexit Uncertainty Bites

flags of UK and EU combined over icons of London - Brexit concept

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Or My Personal Experience of Doing Business in Belarus

Belarus Introduces New Business-Friendly Auditing Procedures

MINSK, BELARUS - AUGUST 15, 2016: Aerial view of the southwestern part of the Minsk with Palace of Sport and old and new other buildings. Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus.

Azerbaijan Showcases ICT Potential

BAKU AZERBAIJAN - SEPTEMBER 25: People goes by the seafront of Baku on September 25 2016. Baku is a capital and largest city of Azerbaijan.

Macedonia — Stepping Out Of the Shadow Of the Balkans

ICT Given Huge Boost in Belarus

MINSK, BELARUS - AUGUST 15, 2016: Aerial view of the southwestern part of the Minsk with Palace of Sport and old and new other buildings. Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus.

The EU Is Encouraging Belarus to Join the World Trade Organisation

Ukraine’s Finance Ministry Wants Urgent Tax Reform

Belarus Has Set an Example for Others to Follow

World Bank: Brexit Hides Greater Challenges to the European Union and the CEE Region

Škoda too Strong for VW Group

MLADA BOLESLAV CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 30: Skoda Octavia on conveyor line during Doors Open Day at Skoda Auto a.s. factory. Skoda auto celebrated 120 years since its founding on May 30 2015 in Mlada Boleslav.

Poland Fails to Spend Billions of Euros in EU Funds

euro banknotes

One in Five Poles Unaware of Source of Funds for 500 Plus Programme

The Deep Roots of Currency Crises in the Former Soviet Union

Armenia Opens New Free Economic Zone on Iranian Border

Bags headgear boxes made of traditional fabrics of Armenian patterns and colors lying on the stalls at the Yerevan market in Armenia

Deloitte Upsizes Its Emerging Europe Cyber Intelligence Team

Computer security concept. Virus in program code

Euroscepticism in Serbia: An Image Problem?

Emerging Europe’s Economies Are Booming

Albania’s Economy Not Benefiting From Largest Oil Reserves in Region

Germany and Belarus: Thinking Globally Acting Locally

‘Traditional Values’: A Potent Weapon Against LGBT Rights

gay rights putin

Ukraine’s Economic Recovery: Good, But Slow

ukraine money

Bulgarian PM Sets Out Priorities at EPP Group Debate

Prague Czech Republic - February 15 2016: The Prime Ministers of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov is speaking during a press conference after meeting of The Visegrad Group (V4) in Prague Czech Republic.

Polish Shoppers in Hunt for Eggs

eggs in rack

The Polish Government’s Mid-Term Report: Must Do Better

Front of finance ministry in Warsaw Poland with a fountain framing the entrance. Could be used for images about Euro currency problems

Beyond Borders: Immigration Within the EU

refugees immigrants

PandaDoc — Rolling Sales Procedures Together So Everyone Succeeds

Continental Launch Largest Ever Lithuanian Greenfield Investment

kaunas lithuania

CEE Must Improve Infrastructure and Logistics

Aerial view of Gliwice Sosnica motorway junction. There are international traffic in four directions

Slovenia: An Optimistic, Export-Led Economy with First-World Problems

Big cranes in port of Koper in Slovenia

Merkel: Albania is taking big steps forward

Double Ratings Agency Boost for Bulgaria

More EU Help for Belarus SMEs

GRODNO BELARUS - DECEMBER 13 2013: Seamstress in textile factory sewing with a industrial sewing machine .

Romanian Cyber Security Firm Valued at 600 million US dollars in Private Equity Swoop

cyber security

Prospering Czechia Still Needs a Bigger Workforce

prague emerging europe

Georgia to Develop Rural Fibre-Optic Network

Young man working on his laptop connect to wireless internet in rural area. Internet connection allows people to work anywhere from laptop. Notebook and nature background. Wireless technology concept.

CEE Nation Brands Still Behind Western Counterparts

TALLINN ESTONIA- JUNE 17: View of the modern high rise buildings on border with an old part of the city on June 17 2012 in Tallinn Estonia

CEE Playing Catch Up on R&D Spending

science, r&d

NATO Opens New Moldova Office

NATO Moldova

Emerging Europe Live: Life in Belarus As Seen by Foreigners

Poland Stays Cool on Euro Adoption

Euro cash and Zloty on one photo.

China and Central Europe: Don’t Believe the Hype


Belarus-Turkey Investment Forum to increase investment and trade between the two countries

Mayor: Armenia And Its Capital Yerevan Offer Safe Investment And Tourism To a Growing World

ICT Growth Continues to Boost Bosnian Economy

ict, it

IMF: Institutions Key to Sustainable Growth


Serbia Drafts New Competition Law

serbia belgrade flag

CEE: Innovate or Get Eaten


Ex-Banker to Become Poland’s Next Prime Minister

The Azerbaijani Laundromat: Why It Matters

azerbaijani money laundering

China Agrees to Build High-Tech Business Park in Serbia

BELGRADE SERBIA - SEPTEMBER 29 2016: View on the city center and the junction of Rivers Sava and Danube in Belgrade Serbia.

Emerging Europe Looking Good in Best-Performing Cities Index

Budapest, Hungary. Aerial view of the old city Budapest, Hungary with river and Parliament Building with cloudy blue sky

Jadranka Joksimović: Serbia Takes Its Candidacy of the EU Seriously


Ukraine to Make New Privatisation Push

Japanese PM Announces Western Balkans EU Initiative

TOKYO JAPAN - Apr 06 2016: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his meeting with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in Tokyo

Bulgaria’s cooperation with Israel could boost the economy

Lithuania Set to Streamline Competition Legislation

Industrial dock with cranes on the quay

The Belarusian Economy: The Challenges of Stalled Reforms

Albania is creating three free economic zones

Bad Payers Still Causing Problems for Romanian Firms

Close up Romanian currency note, LEI or LEU, Romania

Efficient Innovation: Entrepreneurship in Bulgaria

Beautiful photos of modern buildings under blue sky. Europe, Bulgaria, Sofia.

TV Still a Star for CME

Investors in Poland Unfazed By Article 7

Warsaw EBRD annual meeting

The Socialism of Central Europe’s Populists

MARSEILLE FRANCE - JUNE 21 2016: People watch football match at Tribunes of Stade Velodrome during UEFA EURO 2016 game Ukraine v Poland

Growth Increase Offers Glimmer of Hope for Moldova


Investors Eye Opportunities in Emerging European Infrastructure


EconMin: Bulgaria — Number One Outsourcing Destination And an Island of Stability in Europe

Ukraine’s Q2 Growth Climbs

kyiv ukraine emerging europe

Why Emerging Europe is the New Darling of Outsourcing

outsourcing Developing programming and coding technologies. Website design. Cyber space concept.

IFC Invests 30 Million Euros in Ukrainian Packaging Firm

IMMER Ukrplastic

CEE Boosted by Positive Tourism Trends Across the Region

cruise ship in Kotor Bay Montenegro. Aerial view panorama. Kotor bay Montenegro.

The Slovak Matchmaking Fair open for registration

Romania’s Budget Deficit ‘Should Start Alarm Bells Ringing’

BUCHAREST ROMANIA - June 29 2017: Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose during a swearing-in ceremony at Cotroceni palace in Bucharest capital of Romania June 29 2017.

Young Georgians Make Their Mark at Emerging Europe-EBRD Event

maximilien lambertson at emergeing ebrd outlook on georgia

Poland & Ukraine Should Join Outsourcing Forces


Poland’s Q2 2017 Growth Is Stronger Than Expected

WARSAW, POLAND - MAY 07, 2016: Building Palace of Culture and Science among the modern buildings of the city

Investing in Ukrainian Food and Agriculture

The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe

Valga and Valka – Where Estonia and Latvia Work Together

Valga valka emerging europe

Belarus’s Election Tests the EU’s Global Strategy

Emerging Europe Back on Track to Convergence


The essence of the Customs Union is protectionism

Why Was Zapad-2017 So Important?

russian tank belarus zapad

Romanian National Bank Hikes Interest Rates

BUCHAREST ROMANIA - MAY 25 2014: The National Bank of Romania (BNR) building palace designed by Albert Galleron and Cassien Bernard.

Estcoin: Estonia’s Own Digital Currency?

1 euro coin money (EUR) currency of European Union Estonia over blue background

OECD: Belarus Has to Find Its Own Belarusian Model to Emerge

Women, to Tractors!

Tug of war contest between boys and girls. Two groups of children of different sex pulling opposite ends of rope. Concept of gender equality among kids, team sports. Vector illustration for banner

The Belarusian Banking Sector Moving Towards Modernisation Despite Some Challenges

Lithuania Handed Top Marks for Business Services

Beautiful panorama of Vilnius Old Town taken from Gediminas hill; Lithuania

Nadiya Savchenko: I Dream of a Great Ukraine

Panorama of the top part of the Andrew's Descent from Castle Hill in springtime in Kiev Ukraine.

Wizz Air in Huge Polish & Ukrainian Expansion

wizz air a320

FocusEconomics: Belarusian Economy to Grow in Q4 2016 and Onwards

Do Your Homework First and Starting Business in Poland is Easier

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