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Enterprising opportunities: running your business in other countries

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Enterprising opportunities: running your business in other countries


Enrico in Roma asks: “I am an Italian entrepreneur. I have a construction business and would like to participate in projects in neighbouring countries, but also in Scandinavian ones. Do I need to have a registered business in each of the countries where I want to operate?”

Nina Koudelkova from the EU information service Europe Direct responds:

“If you have a registered business providing services in the country where you live, you can offer those services in another EU country without setting up a company or branch there.

This can be interesting if you want to provide the service abroad only temporarily, just to a specific client living there, or simply to test the market before expanding your company.

In principle, you should be able to supply services in another EU country without having to comply with all of that country’s administrative procedures and rules, like obtaining prior authorisation to do business.
But you may need to notify the public authorities that you will be offering services in their country.

Despite this principle, you can’t just assume you can provide services without setting up a company locally. Whether you can or not will depend mainly on how often, for how long and how regularly you want to provide the services. The other country must have valid reasons for imposing its requirements.


If you have to register a company in another EU country, you will have to comply with all that country’s rules for setting up a business, including recognition of your professional qualifications and getting the necessary permits.

To find out what to do in your case, ask the Point of Single Contact (1) in the country where you want to provide services.

Each country has designated a Point of Single Contact for entrepreneurs such as yourself. These are online e-government portals that allow you to find out about the rules, regulations and formalities that apply to service activities. They will also help you complete the administrative procedures online by submitting the necessary application forms and supporting documents electronically.”

For more information about the EU, call 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or check out the website:

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