Limburg in top 20 most competitive regions in Europe
Province rises in recent European Commission ranking
Limburg ranks a fine 20th place in the European Commission’s recent Regional Competitiveness Index (RCI). This places the province within the club of Europe’s most competitive regions. Compared to the previous 2019 version, Limburg has risen by four places. POM Limburg took a closer look at the results.
Tom Vandeput, Deputy for the Economy and Chairman of POM Limburg: “The new ranking recently published by the European Commission is a great gauge for measuring our province against no less than 233 other European regions. And although Limburg is quite often considered the weaker brother within Flanders, we are really doing well in a European context. With a handsome 20th place, we proving to be among the most competitive regions in Europe.”
POM Limburg analysed the European Commission’s new study. This looks at how regions score on aspects such as infrastructure, macro-economics, education, health, job market, capacity for innovation and so on, using no less than 68 indicators. The Netherlands is the lead country in the ranking, with five regions in the top 10. The region of Utrecht also leads the European rankings. But Belgium is also doing extremely well. The Brussels-Capital Region, which the study considers as a single region along with Flemish and Walloon Brabant, takes a handsome 9th place. East Flanders just barely secures 10th place. France, Denmark and Sweden each have one region among the top 10. In each case, this concerns their capital region.
All the Flemish provinces are moving up
Brussels and the Flemish provinces all do well in the recent European ranking. Only West Flanders falls out of the top 20, coming 25th, although it gains the most places compared to the previous version of the RCI (+15). Limburg still ranked 24th at the 2019 edition, moving up four places. The Walloon regions are following at a considerable distance in the ranking, although with the exception of Luxembourg (status quo), they all improved too.
With the 20th spot, Limburg is just behind its neighbouring regions in the ranking, with the exception of the province of Liège (in 57th place). The provinces of Antwerp and Dutch Limburg come in at 12 and 13, respectively, in the ranking. The Dutch province of North Brabant even climbs to number 4. On the German side, the Cologne region ranks 17, three places above Belgian Limburg.
Keeping up with innovation, infrastructure and lifelong learning
So that 20th place, including from a Western European perspective, is a very nice merit for our province. Deputy and POM Chairman Tom Vandeput: “The study reveals a number of assets that justify this top 20 position and on which Limburg scores highly. These include the large economic market reach and our strong entrepreneurial fabric. But in terms of technological preparedness or digitalisation, for example, we also score very well from a European perspective.”
Where Limburg does lag behind are innovation, infrastructure, higher education and lifelong learning. In terms of innovation, there is still a lot of room for growth in the employment of knowledge workers, efforts in research and development or job creation in technological and knowledge-intensive sectors. Higher education and lifelong learning are some further areas where Limburg still needs to step up. For example, Limburg ranks only 128th among European regions in terms of participation in lifelong learning.
“We are not going to resign ourselves to that 20th place and we are aiming for several more places higher. There is undoubtedly further potential for enhancing our competitiveness even more. Putting more effort into innovative and technological entrepreneurship, investing in research and development – as well as human capital – are among the key challenges to address. And then Limburg can keep up with the real top performers,” said Deputy Vandeput.