Doing Business in the European Union 2018: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Slovakia—the first report of the subnational Doing Business series in these countries—assesses the business regulatory environment and its impact on local entrepreneurs in 5 cities in Croatia (Osijek, Rijeka, Split, Varazdin and Zagreb), 7 cities in the Czech Republic (Brno, Liberec, Olomouc, Ostrava, Plzen, Prague and Usti nad Labem), 8 cities in Portugal (Braga, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Funchal, Lisbon, Ponta Delgada and Porto), 5 cities in Slovakia (Bratislava, Kosice, Presov, Trnava and Zilina). The report measures regulations relevant to 5 stages in the life of a small to medium-size domestic firm: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property and enforcing contracts.
- Performance varies substantially among the cities benchmarked in Croatia and the Czech Republic: in both countries those ranking at the top and bottom are separated by nearly six points in the distance to frontier score—a measure showing how far each city is from global best practices in absolute terms.
- Portugal shows the most homogeneous performance among its benchmarked cities, with the smallest difference (less than two points) in the distance to frontier score—suggesting relatively consistent implementation of regulations across the country.
- On average, the most marked differences in performance within each country are in the areas of dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and enforcing contracts.
- All four countries would benefit from reducing procedural complexity. Most cities benchmarked in this report have processes for starting a business and dealing with construction permits that are more complex than the average across the European Union’s member states.
- Prague is the only capital ranking at the top among its country’s benchmarked cities. Bratislava, Lisbon and Zagreb each lag behind most of the smaller cities within their own country.
- Reform-minded officials can make tangible improvements by replicating good practices in other cities in their country. By adopting all the good practices found at the subnational level, all four member states would move substantially closer to the frontier of regulatory best practices. For Croatia this would mean jumping 11 places—and for Slovakia, 9 places—in the Doing Business global ranking of 190 economies.