The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has released the 2023 Survey Report of Insolvency and Secured Transaction Regimes. The survey highlights national-level policy issues that prevent companies from being able to restructure funds or declare insolvency. The Baltic countries overall have exceptionally good insolvency policies compared to other countries surveyed.

The issues

According to EBRD Senior Counsel for the Legal Transition Programme at the Office of the General Counsel Catherine Bridge Zoller, “The 2021 Enterprise Survey (BEEPS) VI1, led by the EBRD, in partnership with the World Bank, found that over half of the businesses surveyed across the EBRD regions consider insufficient access to finance to be an obstacle. While there are many reasons for this, one persistent issue across most developing economies is the underdeveloped nature of security rights and insolvency regimes.”

The Covid-19 pandemic magnified how crucial financing and investment are for businesses in financial distress. If companies facing such burdens do not have access to restructuring options, then they are unlikely to return to full viability. However, many economies where EBRD operates lack proper insolvency procedures, and the financing markets are underdeveloped.


The survey found that the Baltic countries continue to maintain robust and investor-friendly insolvency and secured transaction regimes. These nations have shown commitment to improving their business environments, attracting foreign investment, and fostering economic growth.

Insolvency Regimes: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are praised in the survey for efficient and transparent insolvency procedures. The survey noted that they have well-established mechanisms that facilitate the resolution of distressed businesses while protecting creditors’ rights. This has contributed to a positive investment climate in the region.

Secured Transaction Regimes: The survey found that the Baltic countries also have strong secured transaction frameworks. These provide both legal certainty and reliable collateral enforcement. The existence of modern collateral registries and supportive legislation has made it easier for businesses to access credit. This, in turn, boosts entrepreneurial activities.


The survey highlighted some significant improvements in Belarus’s insolvency and secured transaction regimes, indicating progress in enhancing the business environment. However, challenges remain in certain areas.

Insolvency Regimes: Belarus has made commendable efforts to streamline its insolvency procedures, making it more efficient and predictable. The survey noted that recent legal reforms have contributed to faster resolution times and increased creditor protection. However, further improvements in transparency and judicial effectiveness are recommended to ensure a more conducive environment for investment.

Secured Transaction Regimes: Belarus has made strides in improving its secured transaction framework. It currently offers better protection for lenders and promotes access to credit. The establishment of modern collateral registries and more straightforward enforcement procedures has been particularly beneficial for businesses seeking financing.

Baltics ahead in national insolvency policy

The survey revealed that the Baltic countries continue to set the standard for investor-friendly national insolvency policy and secured transaction regimes in the region. Belarus has made progress in these areas, demonstrating its commitment to fostering a favourable business climate. However, further reforms and enhancements are necessary for Belarus to fully align with international best practices and attract more foreign investment.

About the survey

The Survey of Insolvency and Secured Transactions Regimes summarises the findings of an EBRD Legal Transition Programme survey about new financing and liquidity for businesses. The survey was completed by local legal counsels across 38 EBRD economies. It focuses on the interaction between secured transactions and insolvency laws. The survey identifies legal obstacles that continue to restrict access to credit among businesses which should be removed to help businesses access the credit they need. The Survey complements another EBRD publication, “New Finance Support – Receivables finance for MSME resilience and economic growth”, which advocates for the development of receivables finance products for micro, small and medium enterprises in the regions where the EBRD invests.

Our international Insolvency & Restructuring team also contributed to the study – Kätlin Krisak, Mari Agarmaa, and Liisa-Maria Puur provided information on Estonia; Edvīns Draba provided information on Latvia; Augustas Klezys, Kazimieras Karpickis, and Greta Kubiliūnaitė provided information regarding Lithuania; and Kiryl Apanasevich provided information regarding Belarus.