The Commission has published the third Regional Competitiveness Index, allowing the 263 regions of the Europe to compare their credentials and standing in offering an attractive and sustainable environment for companies and residents to live and work.
This can be done via an interactive web tool, which allows for a detailed analysis and comparison of each region, either with its peers in terms of GDP per capita or with all EU regions.
Users can now see how their region scores in terms of innovation, governance, transport, digital infrastructure, health and human capital and can identify strengths, weaknesses and investment priorities when shaping their development strategies.
The index is a tool for better policy-making, reinforcing the Commission’s support for structural reforms and attempts to boost the innovation capacities of EU regions via the cohesion policy, said Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy. “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,” said Creţu.
Overall, the latest rankings are in line with those for 2013, with strong capital cities and metropolitan areas acting as the main drivers of competitiveness. Spill over effects from these honeypots can be seen in most of north-western Europe, but this is much less obvious in the EU regions to the east and south.
There are high levels of within-country variation, which in many cases are caused by a clearly outperforming capital city region compared to the other regions in the country.
Compared to the data from indexes 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 the Netherlands. In eastern EU regions, competitiveness has mostly remained flat.
The Regional Competitiveness Index builds on the approach of the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum. It is composed of 11 pillars that describe the different aspects of competitiveness.
These are subdivided into Basic, Efficiency and Innovation. The Basic group includes the five pillars of Institutions; Macroeconomic Stability; Infrastructure; Health; and Basic Education that represent the key basic drivers of all types of economies.
As a regional economy develops and advances in its competitiveness, factors related to a more skilled labour force and a more efficient labour market come into play as part of the Efficiency group of three pillars: Higher Education, Training and Lifelong Learning; Labour Market Efficiency; and Market Size.
At the most advanced stage of a regional economy's development, drivers of improvement are part of the Innovation group, which consists of the three pillars of Technological Readiness; Business Sophistication; and Innovation.