Dang. As I mentioned over the weekend, the poor prospects for would-be entrepreneurs and businesspeople in France has young people and resourceful types fleeing their home country for better opportunities elsewhere in heightened numbers. France has an almost record-high unemployment rate at just under 11 percent at the moment, but the avalanche of red tape and business taxes that France imposes on its economy create a prohibitive environment that makes it difficult for potential start-up companies to get going and create the jobs and wealth that the country so desperately needs — and evidently, the feelings of gloom plaguing the French are hardly among the worst in Europe. Via Gallup:
Yikes. That means that the respondents in only a handful of the area’s smaller economies feel that the government helps rather than hinders new businesses, and the heavy polarization on the question in places like Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal is not encouraging. Italy is consistently ranked within the top ten countries by GDP, and they have an unemployment rate of over 12 percent, while Spain is sitting at a whopping 26 percent — and as the survey’s authors put it, the forecast for business activity to pull them out of that economic torpor are not looking good:
Late last month, EU Commissioner Olli Rehn characterized the EU’s recovery as “gaining ground” and suggested that the “worst of the crisis may now be behind us.” But he also cautioned that the recovery is “still modest.” All EU countries, with the exception of Cyprus and Slovenia, are expected to avoid recession in 2014. However, the situation clearly remains difficult in many member states where unemployment, and particularly youth unemployment, are high and where little relief is expected. Entrepreneurship could be part of the solution to job creation in many of the countries that need the most help, but barriers to starting a business — either real or perceived — will need to first come down.