Scotland named one of Europe’s ‘regions of the future’

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Scotland has been named one of Europe’s best large regions for foreign direct investment (FDI), a leading business publication has found.

The country was ranked third for its FDI strategy in a report from fDi magazine - which analyses data compiled by the Financial Times - behind Catalonia in first and the German region of North Rhine Westphalia in second.

Glasgow was placed second in a list of top 10 medium sized European cities for business friendliness. Picture: John Devlin

Glasgow was placed second in a list of top 10 medium sized European cities for business friendliness. Picture: John Devlin

The publication is based on a range of criteria including economic potential, human capital, connectivity, business friendliness and costs.

Scotland was also placed ninth in the overall top 10 of European regions of the future - the highest ranked UK region outside of the south-east of England.

The report was also good news for Glasgow, which was ranked seventh in a top 10 list of large European cities of the future - one place behind Manchester in sixth. The city was also placed second in terms of business friendliness, behind Birmingham in first.

“Glasgow is now consistently achieving recognition as one of Europe’s top cities for FDI strategy and business friendlieness,” said council leader Susan Aitken. “These impressive results confirm that Glasgow is turly a world class city.”

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Edinburgh was meanwhile ranked second in a list of mid-sized European cities for economic potenial, behind Zurich in first.

The 2018/19 ranking seeks to find the most promising cities and regions across the whole of Europe, not just those in the EU, and is widely viewed as an insight into the economic performance of individual cities and regions.

But the report’s authors added that this year’s rankings were delivered with a “cautious note” due to the UK’s uncertain future relationship with Europe as Brexit negotiations continue.

“Politics and personalities could change dramatically before March 2019,” the report commented.

Neil Francis, interim managing director of Scottish Development International (SDI), told The Scotsman that the market for inward investment was increasingly competitive.

“These reports are a great endorsement of Scotland’s attractiveness, and they also perform a key role in helping to communicate these messages to international audiences,” he said.

“This is important because inward investment brings a range of direct and wider benefits to our economy, from jobs and supply chain opportunities to the positioning of Scotland internationally as a place the world can engage with. Inward investors also tend to pay higher wages, be active exporters and invest more in innovation, all of which helps to boost productivity.

“We have an opportunity to build on the international reach and connections that exist across many parts of our economy, to attract even more new inward investment to the country – through our universities, via governments and with businesses.

“If we can work together to achieve this, not only will we strengthen Scotland’s investment proposition, but as a nation we will be better placed to take advantage of the FDI opportunities coming into the UK from some of the newer, emerging economies.

“And, as part of this broader drive to increase Scottish exports and inward investment, the Scottish Government and its partner agencies will develop an international marketing campaign to ensure Scotland is viewed globally as a country to visit, live, work, study and invest in.”

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