The time required to obtain permits is a barrier to investment in Europe

Most companies believe that the time required to obtain permits is a barrier to investment in Europe, and speeding up this process should be an EU priority. This was stated by the BusinessEurope business group, Reuters reports.

In a survey conducted among 240 companies, 83% called the complexity and length of the permitting process an obstacle to investing in Europe.

According to BusinessEurope President Fredrik Persson, most members of the organization believe that the European investment climate is worse than in the US and Asia. The top three problems include energy costs, excessive regulation and lengthy permitting procedures.

He noted that international competition has increased. The United States and Asia are taking a more flexible approach to permitting, with the possibility of accelerating or setting fixed deadlines, as this encourages investment.

The lobbying group believes that the next European Commission in 2024-2029 should address the issue of permitting procedures to increase Europe’s competitiveness.

Data published by BusinessEurope showed that 47% of companies spent one to three years obtaining permits, and for 16% this period was even longer. Many required numerous approvals to operate, for example, an LNG terminal in Germany required about 20 permits per year.

The President of BusinessEurope explained that business does not want the European authorities to lower the bar, it is about speed.

According to the law, which will come into force this year, the EU will set short timeframes for issuing permits for the production of clean technologies, with a single national authority responsible for the process. Persson noted that this is a good first step, but that this timeframe approach should be applied to all parts of the value chain, such as steel produced for wind turbines.

BusinessEurope is an influential association in the EU that lobbies for business interests in the region. It includes national business federations from 36 countries. The study was conducted in 21 countries, and the industries represented in it include chemicals and metals. Among the problems faced by companies are the response time of government agencies, the complexity of EU or national legislation, and the lack of coordination between different authorities.

As GMK Center reported earlier, Assofermet believes that the regulatory framework of CBAM and safeguard measures on steel imports hinder the daily operations of Italian and European steel companies. Problems with completing CBAM reports, the economic impact expected from it starting in 2026, and European safeguard measures in place since 2018 are a concern for many members of the association.