Belgium unpopular as business headquarters

19th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 August 2005, BRUSSELS — Belgium scores poorly in attracting the European headquarters of internationally active companies, but there is no indication of an exodus, an Ernst & Young study has revealed.

19 August 2005

BRUSSELS — Belgium scores poorly in attracting the European headquarters of internationally active companies, but there is no indication of an exodus, an Ernst & Young study has revealed.

The study was commissioned by the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry in reaction to a warning from the Belgian chief of Dutch banking and finance firm ING, Michel Tilmant.

He said in a recent interview that the most multinational firms had departed Belgium in the past decade. Tilmant warned the same fate could befall the Netherlands.

However, the comments appear to be an exaggeration, Belgian financial newspaper 'De Tijd' reported on Friday.

The Ernst & Young study revealed Belgium is a country where the number of European headquarters remained stable between 1997 and 2003, while neighbouring countries witnessed strong fluctuations.

However, Belgium scored poorly as a choice of business operations. Of the 579 European headquarters established in seven countries between 1997 and 2003, Belgium attracted just 29 or a 'market share' of 5 percent.

The most popular country was Britain, with a 60 percent market share, followed by France (10 percent), Germany (9 percent), the Netherlands (8 percent) and Switzerland (7 percent).

Companies that have established a European headquarters in Belgium have appreciated the nation's language skills and labour costs.

The Netherlands was advised that it should focus on companies active in the Benelux region. But do not yet have a European headquarters.

Companies primarily from Belgium, Germany and Britain could be enticed away to the Netherlands, the report said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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