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Sweden slammed for foreign company hurdles

James Savage · 7 Mar 2011, 16:32

Published: 07 Mar 2011 16:32 GMT+01:00

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Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner responsible for the EU's internal market, has told the Swedish government that laws that require some European service-sector companies to formally establish branches in Sweden before doing business here, forcing them to file separate accounts, was a breach of the EU's services directive.

In a statement delivered to the Swedish government last month, Barnier also criticized Sweden for requiring foreign service sector companies without a managing director in the country to appoint a Swedish resident as an official representative.

The document also gives Sweden a rap over the knuckles for taking up to four months to process the paperwork of foreign companies applying to set up Swedish branch or subsidiary. The Commission argued that two weeks should be ample in most cases.

"The Commission is of the opinion that the registration of a foreign branch should be a simple and automatic process that does not require such a long waiting time, particularly now that electronic processes make it possible to send applications, decisions and documents quickly," Barnier wrote.

The criticism marks the latest stage in a long-running disagreement between Sweden and the Commission over the way Sweden regulates the establishment of foreign companies.

Story continues below…

Sweden was first warned in 2008 that its legislation violated EU law. It has now been given two months to take the necessary steps to comply with the Commission's demands.

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:44 March 7, 2011 by Stickeroo
Welcome to Sweden.....take a number!
18:02 March 7, 2011 by mikewhite
And what about that requirement that a company run by a foreigner must do most of its trade with Swedish companies, if the non-EU boss wants to obtain residency ?

That is surely deserving of a warning too.
19:29 March 7, 2011 by Nemesis
@ mikewhite,

I did a search of the various EU websites and agencies. I could find no reference to that. I don't think the appropiate EU authorities, know about that problem.

I know people have complained to MEPs, but I am not sure if it has got much further.
19:44 March 7, 2011 by djmarko
are we talking about customer service here, non existent!!!
19:46 March 7, 2011 by conboy
Ah dön't be like that lads Swedes never have chips on their shoulders...
20:12 March 7, 2011 by mojofat
Shocked...just shocked...that this well oiled machine known as the government bureaucracy is taking too long to do anything. BTW, I've been waiting for an apartment for nearly a year now...take a number indeed.
20:29 March 7, 2011 by Nemesis

True enough. The large boulders knock them of.
10:13 March 8, 2011 by mikewhite
Looks like America has similar problems, this with immigration visas:

10:54 March 8, 2011 by johnny1939
POX on the EU sad day when we joined. It will be a happy day when and if the union falters.
11:01 March 8, 2011 by mojofat

I've known many talented individuals back in California who were going through the same thing. It is a big problem, and once again conservative ideologues want to frame it in black/white terms without thinking of the bigger picture.
11:30 March 8, 2011 by Nemesis
@ mikewhite & mojofat,

Strangely a lot of people who worked in Silicon Valley from Ireland have been returning home to Ireland where there is no jobs at all. It has been noticeable over the last year. A lot of them wait for a month or two to get their belongings back to Ireland, then head to China, Germany and Korea for contract work.

Apparently a lot of them are running into problems over immigration visa's and also with some employers.
12:47 March 8, 2011 by calebian22

As someone who has worked in Silicone Valley in the high tech sector, this exodus has more to do with the offshoring of manufacturing than with immigration regs. The Valley is still a center for R & D but if one makes a comparison to a decade ago, manufacturing is way down.

Germany is the best country in Europe regarding government subsidies in the semiconductor market. Quimonda and AMD get fat boy money from the government to continue German production. My guess is alot of your Irish aquaintances are customer engineers or tool specialists that need to be around the production equipment for service and upgrades. Sadly, production is mostly in Asia, now.
18:54 March 8, 2011 by mikewhite
"Silicone Valley" ? Who mentioned Katie Price ?
18:59 March 8, 2011 by mikewhite
In articles like this, can we please have a link to the original press release as well ?

19:13 March 8, 2011 by calebian22
LOL, Nortons on the brain, I guess.
19:45 March 8, 2011 by mkvgtired
As I just stated in the article about foreign companies doing business in Sweden, politicians do not understand economics.

@mikewhite, it is a shame. I know people that get visa extensions for starting businesses in the US. Obviously some fall through the cracks which is a huge shame. Especially residents graduating from top US universities (or any universities for that matter), such as Bahl, should be given a clear path to immigration. It seems stupid to let someone study for an advanced degree then make them deal with so many visa hassles that they leave. If that is not the definition of bloated bureaucracy I dont know what is.
13:25 March 13, 2011 by johnny1939
Well, it seems that Sweden cannot do anything right these days according to most comments. It is getting a bit tiresome I must say. What about all the even worse stuff that goes on in the UK and US??
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