Belgium once again among the European top five in attracting foreign investment


2014 was a record year for foreign investment in Belgium. So it appears in the twelfth edition of the annual 'Barometer of Belgian Attractiveness' by Ernst & Young.

198 projects were launched in 2014, representing an increase of 13% compared to 2013 and the highest level in the last ten years. This means that Belgium holds on to its place among the top five European countries in attracting direct foreign investment projects.

Most investment is attracted in sales & marketing projects, with the production and logistics sectors completing the top three. The most important foreign investors in Belgium are the United States and neighbouring countries France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Together they represent a share of 62% of all foreign investment.

Around two thirds of the projects are totally new investments. Greenfield projects or new investment projects are an important measure of a country's attractiveness. Belgium saw a strong decline in the number of greenfield projects with the economic crisis beginning in 2008. This result means that Belgium has now returned to the same level as before the economic crisis, and that is a positive sign”, says Herwig Joosten, Managing Partner Tax Ernst & Young Belgium.

2014 was also a top year for direct foreign investment in Europe: the number of foreign investment projects reached a record high of 4,341, an increase of 10% compared to 2013. Countries ahead of Belgium in the investment ranking are the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain.

Ernst & Young keep in touch with the Belgian investment climate with their annual ‘Barometer of Belgian Attractiveness’. The study is based on a two-level, original methodology which firstly reflects the real attractiveness of Europe based on the European Investment Monitor (EIM) by EY, and secondly reflects the ‘perceived’ attractiveness of Europe and its competitors based on a representative panel made up of over 800 international decision-makers.