Are you looking to expand into the European markets? You’re not alone!

Europe remains the first and best choice for most companies and, despite the coronavirus pandemic, interest in expanding into the region reached an all-time high this year.

Thanks to its affluent economies, stable legal systems, varied cultures and wealth of business opportunities, Europe has become a hotspot for global expansion.

Freedom of movement also makes Europe an exciting and highly attractive region for many companies. Without having to worry about securing a visa for EU citizens, you can advertise for employees across the continent and gain access to an almost unrivalled talent pool — tapping into the different skills people in each country have to offer.

So, what are some of the best European countries to do business in?

1. Relish favourable tax rates in the UK

Although there’s some uncertainty surrounding Brexit (especially when it comes to freedom of movement), the UK is still a thriving business hub.

For US companies, in particular, the shared language makes the UK a great place to expand. In fact, over 8,500 US businesses now call the English capital home.

Not only is London Europe’s wealthiest and most cosmopolitan capital city, but it also has excellent transport links to Asia and elsewhere in Europe — providing the connections you need to expand your business worldwide. London’s high concentration of financial and IT companies also make it a natural choice for any company in the fintech sector.

As a whole, the UK has a immense pool of 30 million skilled employees — the second largest workforce in the European Union — to offer. Combined with flexible labour laws and competitive labour costs, chances are the UK will do just fine even if it does lose access to the EU’s talent pool.

Low corporate tax rates and double taxation agreements with destinations such as Ireland, France and India also make the UK an attractive option for companies looking to expand into Europe.

2. Innovate and thrive in Germany

Sitting in the heart of Europe, Germany proved to be the most resilient country during the recession and is still the driving force behind the region’s thriving economy.

Outside of China, Germany is perhaps the best-renowned country for its manufacturing capabilities. But it also leads the way in terms of innovation and technology in other sectors, such as construction, healthcare and renewable energy.

Germany’s 81 million inhabitants also have greater purchasing power than any of its European neighbours — and thanks to its proximity to western European markets like France and the Benelux countries, it’s a prime target market for global expansion

3. Enjoy enviable living standards in Sweden

If you’re looking to expand into the Nordics, Sweden is an excellent choice. Due to its enviable standard of living and leading welfare system, Sweden is a highly attractive country to live in — with a friendly, happy and highly skilled workforce to tap into. Talent is particularly concentrated around areas such as R&D, innovation and digital technologies.

The country also has low levels of bureaucracy and an open, modern business environment which welcomes foreign investors and makes it easy to do business. Plus, as with the other Nordic countries, most of the population can understand and speak English proficiently. Almost 90% of Swedes speak English as a second language, eliminating challenging language barriers.

What’s more, good links to other Scandinavian countries make Sweden an excellent place to set up a base for business with Denmark, Norway and Finland.

4. Set up a multilingual team in Belgium

As the de facto capital of the EU, Belgium packs a punch in the business world. Thanks to well-established transport links and circa 500 million consumers within an 800 km radius, Belgium has become a recognised export hub. Access to the UK by sea — as well as land borders with Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — also makes Belgium one of Europe’s best-placed countries for onward trade.

In terms of top talent, Belgium has a lot to offer too, especially for organisations looking to build a multilingual team. Belgium has three official languages — French, Flemish and German — and an abundance of first and second-generation migrants. Excellent universities and centres for research and development also make for a highly qualified workforce.

If you’re keen to enter the European markets, a PEO in the relevant country could help you get your foot in the door, understand the market, hire the best talent and remain compliant along the way. At PEO Worldwide, we cover a vast range of territories in Europe and beyond — allowing you to unlock business across the world.