Thursday, May 06, 2004

IMD Competitiveness Report

The annual Competitiveness Report put out by Swiss business school IMD has been published and it doesn't look good for the EU. While the US continues to top the survey, no EU country made the top five this year. Instead, countries such as Canada, Australia, Singapore and Iceland headed the list. The most competitive EU country, Denmark, fell from fifth place last year to seventh this year. Of the big EU countries, the region of Bavaria ranks closest to the top in twentieth spot, followed by Germany as a whole at twenty-one and then the UK coming in at twnety-second spot.

It is interesting that smaller EU countries such as Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands actually rank higher than the bigger EU nations, especially since some of these countries are fairly socialist. The difference is that nations like Denmark and the Netherlands, while maintaining vast social assistance networks, have also brought in quite liberal labor and finance legislation. The point being, if you want to go into business in Europe, head to Copenhagen or Amsterdam and skip Paris, Berlin or Rome.

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