Greece dropped five places in this year’s World Bank’s annual “Doing Business Index,” ranking 72nd, down from 67th place last year. Greece’s score of 68.08 represents a decline of 0.12 points compared to last year’s index.
The annual World Bank report reports that obstacles to doing business increased in Greece in the past year. While many other countries moved ahead in fighting bureaucracy, Greece has added more layers of red tape to dealings between entrepreneurs and the state.
Although Greece has made progress in its building permit system, it has increased the burden on citizens and businesses by requiring more documents for the registration of real estate. At the same time, the Greek state has not fully implemented previously-announced reforms, such as the simplification of export procedures or the reduction of documentation needed for establishing a corporation.
Once again, Greece ranks as one of the least attractive countries in the European Union for conducting business, with the second worst score among the 28 member states of the bloc. Only Malta fared worse than Greece, ranking in 84th place with 65.43 points.
Greece has fared worse than some Balkan and Mediterranean countries. For instance, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) ranked in 10th place, Portugal in 34th place, Serbia in 48th place, and Romania in 52nd place.
For 2019, New Zealand ranks as the top country for businesses. On the other end, Somalia ranked at the bottom of the worldwide index.
Greece declined in the index measuring the ease of starting a new business, dropping from 37th to 44th. In the index ranking the ease of registering real estate, Greece plunged to the 153rd place from 145th last year after introducing a new mandatory certificate to the existing required paperwork for registering and transferring property.
In regards to the ease of opening a new account with the electric utility, Greece dropped from 76th to 79th place. Greece also dropped in the index measuring business access to bank loans, from 90th to 99th place. Greece also slipped in the index measuring protection of minority shareholders, from 43rd to 51st place, while Greece’s position in the index measuring the ease of conducting cross-border transactions fell from 29th to 31st.
The only index where Greece recorded significant progress in the past year was the ease of obtaining a building permit. Greece ranked 39th in the recently-released rankings, compared to 58th last year.