Brussels is 'still attractive' to foreign businesses

7th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 October 2005, BRUSSELS – Brussels continues to be an attractive city for business people looking for a base in Europe, according to a study released this week.

7 October 2005

BRUSSELS – Brussels continues to be an attractive city for business people looking for a base in Europe, according to a study released this week.

However, the Belgian capital must work hard in the next few years to stay ahead of competition from improving central European cities.

The annual European Cities Monitor, a study carried out by commercial estate agents Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker, ranked Brussels fourth most attractive city for business.

It is the sixteenth year running that Brussels has held on to fourth place, this year coming just one percent behind the third best, Frankfurt.

According to the ratings, though, Brussels is still a long way behind the top business cities, London and Paris.

"The gap between those behind us is larger, but that doesn't mean we should rest on our laurels during the next few years," said Brussels minister-president Charles Picqué. He pointed out that there were several cities in central Europe which had improved their placing in this year's study substantially.

Cushman & Wakefield said 501 businesses had been surveyed from industry, financial services and the service sectors.

Businesses tend to choose a location for their companies based on criteria such as whether the city offers easy access to markets, a qualified workforce, good communications facilities, transport links and business costs.

When asked what needed improving in most cities, the companies said the transport links and a reduction in taxation and bureaucracy.

Brussels has hung on to its position thanks to factors such as offering good access to markets, international and internal transport links, quality telecommunications and a good relationship between the price of office space and its quality.

The city has also been recognised for offering a good quality of life to expat workers.

Brussels did, though, get slightly lower ratings than previous years for the availability of offices and local public transport. It also performed worse on questions of pollution.

Picqué said the survey showed the importance of resolving questions like the noise nuisance debate at Brussels National Airport and the launch of the RER commuter train. That would mean the Brussels regional authorities, the Flanders and Wallonia governments working together.

"The perception of investors is not limited to the institutional limits of Brussels," he added. "We must produce a concerted strategy between Brussels and its periphery because the health of one has inevitable repercussions on the other."

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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