Investment in EU

Outline of EU

European Union (EU) has one of the largest consumer markets with over 446 million people in the world. The fundamental idea of EU is to unite European countries as one union, and to create one large market in which goods, capital, information and people are freely movable. One of the most interesting things about EU is that it consists of 27 different countries with completely different cultures, languages and rules, yet being operated under one united system. When considering investment, you need to learn not only EU as a whole, but also what is common and what is not in each member country.
What is EU?

446 million

Name

Population
(as of 2020)

Major Institutions

EU Member Countries

Eurozone *

Schengen Area **

GDP Annual Growth Rate
(as of the first quarter of 2019)

Unemployment Rate
(as of April 2019)

European Council, Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), European Parliament, …

27 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden)

19 countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain)

26 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland)

1.79 %

7.6 %

4,326,183 sqkm

Land Size

European Union (EU)

(**) Schengen area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. Some Schengen member countries are not part of EU (e.g. Switzerland), and some EU members are not part of Schengen cooperation.

Labor regulations

Each country has different labor regulations (minimum wage, holidays, overtime hours, maternity leave, etc.)

Free labor market

EU citizens can move and work in other EU countries without visa and work permits.

Free movement of EU citizens and Non-EU citizens

Schengen cooperation allows people to move without border control within the member countries. **
What is common in EU member states?

Taxation

Each country has different taxation system and tax rates.

Visa requirements

Each country offers different type of visa, with different conditions and requirements. Once being granted a visa in Schengen countries, even non-EU citizens can move freely within Schengen area without extra visa.

Basic rules of subsidies

(e.g. EU funds, Investment Incentives)

Investment incentives

Basic rules for investment incentives is regulated by EU, but each country is offering different conditions.

VAT return system & United customs

Companies in EU can claim VAT return, even for cross-border transactions between EU countries.

VAT rates

Each country has different VAT rates. Some countries are having reduced tax rates for certain commodities.

Currency

19 countries out of 27 already adopted Euro. *

Free movement of capital

Monetary transfer is not limited by customs.

Exchange rates

Countries can choose to keep their own currency even after they fulfilled the requirement for adoption of Euro. Some countries are controlling their currency to move along with Euro, in order to avoid foreign currency risk.  

Driving license & Other official documents

A driving license acquired in one of the member countries is valid in other EU member states. Other official documents (e.g. ID and car number plates) have the same design.

Multilateral VISA

(e.g. blue card, Schengen visa)

Free movement of goods

No tariff is imposed on transfer of goods among EU countries.
What is different in each EU member state?

Basic Data of Selected EU Countries

As mentioned above, each EU member country has different economical background and legal roles even though basics are governed by EU directives. (e.g. VAT is applied only once in the supply chain, but tax ratio is different in each country. / Basic rules of investment incentives are decided by EU, but each country has space to adjust conditions.)

In the following links, we have selected some EU countries which are popular as investment destinations among Asian countries, and listed its comparative data on major topics – basic information, industries, economic indicators, taxation, and labor regulations. If you wish to obtain further information, please feel free to contact us.
Select a country to learn more:
Czech Republic
Poland
Slovakia
Hungary
Germany
France