Doing Business in the European Union 2017: Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania—the first report of the subnational Doing Business series in these countries—assesses the business regulatory environment and its impact on local entrepreneurs in 6 cities from Bulgaria (Burgas, Pleven, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia and Varna), 7 cities from Hungary (Budapest, Debrecen, Gyor, Miskolc, Pecs, Szeged, and Szekesfehervar) and 9 cities from Romania (Brasov, Bucuresti, Cluj-Napoca, Constanta, Craiova, Iasi, Oradea, Ploiesti, and Timisoara). 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.
- Business regulations and their implementation vary substantially both among and within Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania—with the biggest differences in Bulgaria and Romania.
- No city excels in all five areas measured; among the 22 cities benchmarked, each ranks in the top half on at least one indicator set and in the bottom half on at least one other.
- Each country has cities that outperform the European Union average in at least one area: Varna and Pleven in Bulgaria in starting a business, Pecs and Szeged in Hungary in dealing with construction permits, all Hungarian cities and Oradea in Romania in registering property, and most cities in enforcing contracts. But no city is close to the EU average in getting electricity.
- Budapest and Sofia both lag behind most of the smaller cities in their countries. Yet Bucharest ranks in the top half among Romanian cities in most areas measured, demonstrating the potential for dealing efficiently with high demand for business services.
- Reform-minded officials can make tangible improvements by replicating good practices in other cities in their country. Bulgarian cities could make starting a business easier by adopting the good practices in Varna. Hungarian cities could improve in getting electricity by emulating the good practices of Szeged and Szekesfehervar. And Romanian cities could look to Timisoara's example to improve contract enforcement.