Brussels and East Flanders are in the top 10 of the most competitive EU regions. This results from the Regional Competitiveness Index (RCI) of the European Commission. A total of 234 European regions were examined.

Since 2010, the European Commission regularly reviews the competitiveness of EU regions. The stronger the competitiveness, the more the regions benefit from economic advantages. For example, regions can more easily attract investors. GDP per capita is also higher and it is easier for young graduates to find a job.

In addition to the high ranking of two Belgian regions (ranks 9 and 10), it should be noted that the Dutch regions in particular obtain high scores (ranks 1 and 2). The Paris region occupies 3rd place. Scandinavian countries are also in the top 10. At the very bottom of the list are regions from Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

It is not surprising that the Brussels obtains the highest score among the Belgian regions. In almost all EU countries, capital city regions achieve the best results. The place of East Flanders in the top 10 is all the more striking as the region owes this ranking, among other things, to research and investments in innovative technologies and to the high degree of concentration of colleges and universities. The high employment rate in East Flanders also plays a role.

According to the latest figures from Statbel, in East Flanders, four out of five people aged 20 to 64 work. This employment rate of 80% is the highest in our country, and also the percentage that the federal government would like to achieve in all of Belgium by 2030. The downside for many workers is the great shortage in the labor market, making it more difficult for businesses to find the staff they need.

This is the fifth time that the European Commission has presented the RCI. For the first time, UK regions (no longer part of the EU) have been included. What is Regional Competitiveness? It is more than the productivity of a region. The report states: “Regional competitiveness is the capacity of a region to offer an attractive and sustainable environment for businesses but also for the inhabitants who live and work there. »
The European Commission study shows that competitiveness in the EU shows great regional differences. The lowest scores are concentrated in the regions of the eastern EU Member States, followed by those of the southern EU Member States. All regions of Austria, Benelux, Germany and the three Scandinavian countries are above the EU average. In France and Ireland, it is striking to note that the picture is very contrasted: the two regions are below and above the EU average. In many countries, the gap between the capital region and the rest is often significant. What is striking in the most competitive countries is that this gap is ultimately small, as is the case for example in the Benelux countries.
International growth involves notable risks that must be assessed and minimized. Business practices, legal frameworks and local culture can be very different in different countries. Your experience on the Belgian market will not necessarily be useful abroad. Take the time to study the market before entering a new market.
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