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European Cities and Regions Shine in 2024 fDi Rankings Amid Challenging Investment Climate

The 2024 European Cities and Regions of the Future ranking by fDi Intelligence highlighted several central and eastern European cities for their notable progress. Frankfurt in Germany, Wrocław in Poland, and Luxembourg City emerged as leaders in their respective categories of large, mid-sized, and small cities. In the major cities category, London retained its top spot, while Barcelona was recognized for its exemplary FDI strategy. Among regions, Paris Region (Île-de-France) led in the large regions category, with North Holland and the Dublin Region also performing well.

Despite a challenging investment environment in Europe in 2023, marked by a decline in both project numbers and capital pledges, these cities and regions stood out. Europe’s global FDI share decreased to approximately 29% in 2023, down from around 36% the previous year.

The ranking evaluated 330 European cities across five size categories and 141 regions in three size groups, along with 38 local enterprise partnerships in the UK. The assessment covered five subcategories: economic potential, business friendliness, connectivity, human capital and lifestyle, and cost-effectiveness. Additionally, investment promotion agencies from across Europe contributed to the ‘FDI Strategy’ category.

A panel of experts in investment promotion and economic development reviewed 117 submissions, making this the only qualitative category in an otherwise data-driven ranking.

In the major cities category, London, Amsterdam, and Dublin continued to lead, with London excelling in talent availability, lifestyle, connectivity, business environment, and economic potential. Frankfurt surpassed Hamburg in the large cities category, followed by Düsseldorf. Wrocław overtook Zürich and Vilnius in the mid-sized cities category, while Luxembourg City topped the small cities category, and Zug led the micro cities category.

In regional rankings, the Paris Region maintained its dominance among large regions, especially with the upcoming 2024 Olympics, which is expected to enhance its competitiveness. The West Midlands and North-Rhine Westphalia followed. North Holland and the Dublin Region led the mid-sized and small regions categories, respectively.

Barcelona was praised for its investment promotion strategy, particularly in growing its tech cluster and embracing industry 4.0. Glasgow, Newcastle, and the Irish cities of Cork and Limerick excelled in their respective city categories for FDI strategy. The Paris Region also led in investment promotion strategy among regions, with Northern Ireland and the Mid-West Region of Ireland winning in their respective regional categories.


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