Regional competitiveness is the ability of a region to offer an attractive and sustainable environment for firms and residents to live and work. The Regional Competitiveness Index that has been published for the third time, compares regions looking at aspects like macroeconomic stability, higher education and training and labour market efficiency.
The tool is designed to help regions identify their strengths, weaknesses and investment priorities when shaping their development strategies. “This index is a precious tool for better policy-making. It reinforces the Commission’s efforts to support structural reforms and boost the innovation capacities of EU regions via Cohesion Policy investments. Because each region is unique, we provide tailor-made support to empower them and help them capitalise on their strengths and assets, especially with our regional smart specialisation strategies,” Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu says.
Metropolitan areas drive competitiveness
The results of the 2016 index are in line with those for 2013. Once again, a polycentric pattern can be observed with strong capital and metropolitan areas as the main drivers of competitiveness. Spill over effects can be seen in most of north-western Europe, but this is much less obvious in the EU regions to the east and south. High levels of within-country variation are observed in many cases which are caused by a clearly outperforming capital region compared to the other regions in the country.
Compared to the two previous editions, published in 2010 and 2013, Malta and several regions in France, Germany, Sweden, Portugal and the UK improved their score, while the scores declined in Cyprus and regions in Greece, Ireland and, more recently in the Netherlands. While Utrecht was named the most competitive region in 2013, they have now been surpassed by London. Utrecht shares its second place with the region of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
The full Regional Competitiveness Index can be read here