European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Self-Employment or How to Establish a Company Abroad

Those willing to operate on international markets can enjoy the same rights as citizens of countries in which they arrive. This is one of fundamental rules of EU single market. So what do you start with?

In EU member states all entrepreneurs are treated on equal footing. In order to set up a one-man company you need to present an ID, registration documents and meet the required formalities at a taxation and statistical office. In majority of the countries, these formalities can be dealt with online. In some countries (e.g. Portugal, Belgium), specialised agencies operate and provide comprehensive support in establishing and managing companies. In Finland, public officers will provide to you such a comprehensive aid that you even do not need to worry if your business plan is feasible.


However, the procedures are diversified and intricate. Before you spend any money to start up a company, check your obligations towards individual offices, taxes you will have to pay and the permits that you will need to launch a given type of activity (as is the case in France, for example). Detailed information on investment conditions, taxes, insurance premiums and hiring employees can be found on your country’s embassy website in a given EU country.

Freelancers have it easier

There are countries in which artists or architects do not need to pursue business activity. This is the case in Germany, where according to local law acting on stage or designing buildings is not regarded as business activity.

Road to freedom

Adoption of the services directive in 2006 was a turning point for self-employment in Europe. The 2006 law introduces the freedom of providing majority of types of services in different EU member states. So in practice, you can register a company in your home country and provide services, such as renovating a house, cutting grass, designing a building or conducting training, abroad. However, the directive does not cover with its scope health, financial, social, transport or temporary employment services. In some countries wider restrictions apply. For example in Germany freedom of provision of services does not include construction work.

Published: Tue, 28/05/2013 - 13:50

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