Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT

 
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB

Competitiveness
Report 2021
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
…for liberty to emerge and
flourish, both state and
society must be strong.
A strong state is needed to
control violence, enforce laws,
and provide public services
that are critical for a life in
which people are empowered
to make and pursue their
choices. A strong, mobilized
society is needed to control
and shackle the strong state.

The Narrow Corridor – States, Societies,
And the Fate of Liberty - Daron Acemoglu
and James A. Robinson (2019)
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
Eight Competitiveness Lab
                                              This report is a product of the work of the           The Lab has been established by Eight
                                              Eight Competitiveness Lab, whose aim is               International, an organization consisting
                                              to provide international investors with the           of 8 business advisory founding firms, and
                                              essential data they require to make informed          associate members present in more than 30
                                              business decisions. It tracks and shares the          countries globally. It is a global organisation
                                              most relevant and up to date information on           with strong European roots focusing on
                                              the progress and development of the global            transactions, restructuring, transformation
                                              economy.                                              and financial engineering.
                                                                                                    With offices in the UK, France, Germany,
                                              The research provides critical evidence that          Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands,
                                              shows that the most favourable business               Poland, Italy, Spain, Russia and India, Eight
                                              environment is not dependent on low taxes             International is a fast-growing advisory
                                              or low wages. In our view, the crucial formula        firm of a new type, serving multinational
                                              required to achieve both economic success             corporations, private equity firms, investors
                                              and human happiness is a sustained focus              and family offices.
                        Fifth edition         on wellbeing, political and social stability
of the Eight Competitiveness Report,          and a determination to deliver the highest
           which provides a yardstick         educational standards.
               to compare countries

                           In this edition
  of the Eight Competitiveness Report

                                              Legal note
  we measure the appeal of countries.
           More specifically, what is the
  attractiveness of a country to its own
population, to foreign visitors, investors,
                  students, researchers,      This report is partially based on data that           Eight International in no way represents,
                      and entrepreneurs.      was compiled by the Eight Competitiveness             owns or controls rights to the data and will
             Various sources have been        Lab from various local and international              not be liable to users for any claims brought
                        used to compile       organizations and institutions. They were             against users by third parties in connection
              this “ranking of rankings”.     obtained with the prior written permission of         with their use of any data. Users must refer
                                              their owners.                                         to the data owners’ terms of use, in particular
                                                                                                    concerning the attribution, distribution, and
                                              Although Eight International makes every              reproduction of the data.
                                              effort to ensure that the data is accurately
                                                                                                    Copyright: © Eight International
                                              reflected in this report, we (a) provide the
                                              data “as is, as available” and without warranty
                                              of any kind, either expressed or implied,
                                              including, without limitation, warranties
                                              of merchantability, fitness for a particular
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                                              (b) make no representation, expressed
                                              or implied, as to the accuracy of the data
                                              contained in this report or its suitability for
                                              any particular purpose;
                                              (c) accept no liability for any use of the said
                                              data or reliance placed on it, in particular,
                                              for any interpretations, decisions, or actions
                                              based on the data in this report.

                                                                                                5
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
Competitiveness
Report 2021
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
The unique combination of rankings makes up the socio-economic DNA
                                                                      of a country. However, these metrics and rankings are not set in stone.
                                                                      Impact of the covid pandemic, which affected every country in the world
                   Pascal Raidron                                     in different ways, has made it abundantly clear. For Europe the following
                                                                      years will be decisive. Not only will the economic and societal outcomes
                             President                                of the pandemic become apparent, but also on a geopolitical level there is
                      of Eight Advisory                                       increased tension that sooner or later will impact all regions.
                  & Eight International
                                                                      In this edition, we have added a particular emphasis on Europe. Unique to
                                                                      this f ifth version are tables juxtaposing Europe’s socio-economic models
                                                                           along with a matrix comparing the world’s big economic powers.
                                                                      The f irst one shows that each socio-economic model in Europe excels at
                                                                      something and complements the others. That is why Europe has more to
                                                                      offer as a whole. The matrix comparing powers also illustrates this. Europe
                                                                      is much more than a simple sum of individual countries. Together, Europe
                                          Alexis Karklins-Marchay                can truly compete with the other big powers in the world.

                                          Partner at Eight Advisory   If there is one lesson to be learned f rom this report, it is that Europe’s
                                          & General Secretary         diversity is one of its greatest assets. Given that the coming years will prove
                                          of Eight International      crucial, the European Union has an important role to play. A strong united
                                                                             Europe is needed to defend and protect our common values.
Competitiveness
Report 2021
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
Switzerland, the Netherlands
                                                                                                                                                                                   and Nordics take it all
                          A number of highlights from

                                                                                                                                                                   4.
                                                                                                                                                                                   Despite being a mid-sized country, Switzerland

                          this year’s edition of the Global
                                                                                                                                                                                   remains very high in all rankings related to
                                                                                                                                                                                   competitiveness. Switzerland still has the

                          Competitiveness Report:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         5.
                                                                                                                                                                                   most advanced business environment, but
                                                                                                                                                                                   the Netherlands are also well positioned.
                                                                                                                                                                                   The country can claim elevated positions in
                                                                                                                                                                                   a number of rankings - whether it comes to
                                                                                                                                                                                   global competitiveness, economic freedom or
                                                                                                                                                                                   infrastructure quality. In the case of the Nordics

                                                   1.
                                                                                                                                                                                   the situation remains unchanged: Sweden,
                                                                  Competitiveness revised                                                                                          Denmark, Finland and Norway top almost all
                                                                                                                                                                                   rankings, have the most productive businesses,
                                                                  Global competitiveness is not another term for cheap                                                             are the best places to live and raise kids and                      Italy -
                                                                  labor or low taxes. It’s a unique blend of individual                                                            are well positioned to compete in the global            excellent national
                                                                                                                                                                                   economy.
                                                                  freedoms and collective decision-making, of
                                                                  entrepreneurship and social protection.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              health system
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Italians pride themselves in having one of the best national
                                                                                                                                                                                                       health systems in the world. Though the pandemic might have
                                                                                                                                                                                                     challenged that perception, the country excels in terms of overall
                                                                                                                                                                                                    health achieving second place in the healthiest country index. The

                                                                                                2.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    government is now shifting the focus away from big hospitals to a
                                                                                                                                                                                                     “next-door” healthcare system, providing Italians with top quality

                                                                                                                                         6.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      medical services in towns and villages, which will only make the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    system work even more efficiently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Big in Russia & India
                                                    Europe as the next big power                                                                                                         Both India and Russia are the countries to
                                                                                                                                                                                          keep an eye on, as their business climates

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7.
                         If Europe were to be a country, it could definitely rival the likes of China                                    Poland - Master of                                became much more attractive to foreign
                    and the United States. Europe is the second largest economy in the world,                                                                                                 investors. The ease of doing business
                     it ranks first in the ranking of universities and is the third biggest supplier                                     infrastructure                                  improved in Russia as well as India – these
                      of companies to the Fortune Global 500. The conclusion is clear: a united                                                                                       are very welcome developments and should
                       Europe would truly be able to compete with the other big powers in the                                            When it comes to infrastructure
                                                                                                                                                                                     further add to these large countries’ and their
                      world. This will prove to be important during the geopolitical shifts in the                                       quality, Poland moved up sharply
                                                                                                                                                                                               ability to attract foreign investment.
                          coming years. The following years will be determined by the economic                                           in the rankings. Its prosperity
                                                                                                                                         still requires it to catch up to its

                                                                                                                                                                                                            8.
                  recovery of the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and climate change. During
                      these crucial times, Europe must step up and take on its responsibility as                                         European peers – an area for
                                                                                                                                         development which would be

                                                              3.
                                                                        the world’s next big power.
                                                                                                                                         welcomed.                                                                          Germany – striking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the balance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As a big and open economy, Germany
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            maintains its strong balance between
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            economic competitiveness and high
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            social standard but faces challenges with
                                                                      The beauty of being different                                                                                                                         its infrastructure.

                                                                                                                                                                  9.
                                                                      Within Europe we look at different economic models –
                                                                      Benelux, British Isles, Viségrad, Nordics, Med7 as well as

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       10.
                                                                      DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Not a single
                                                                      economic model tops each and every ranking. DACH is a
                                                                      very advanced and innovative region. The British Isles have
                                                                      a favorable business environment and the Nordics score
                                                                      well on political and social stability. The conclusion is clear:
                                                                      European societal models are clearly complementary and
                                                                                                                                                                           Home of global
                                                                      every European region has its own characteristics - as is the                                        companies
                                                                      case in countries such as China or the United States. We
                                                                      should embrace those differences and explore how to turn                                             With a leading position in the                               Brave, little and open
Competitiveness

                                                                      them into an advantage.                                                                              world, France is truly the home of
                                                                                                                                                                           global companies as it is the 4th                Belgium can be seen as an example of a
Report 2021

                                                                                                                                                                           biggest supplier of companies on                small, but very open economy that boasts
                                                                                                                                                                           the Fortune Global 500 list. France                a quality education and freedom in its
                                                                                                                                                                           is also recognized for its business           broadest sense, which positions the country
                                                                                                                                                                           schools and its infrastructure.                  as a democratic hub, centrally located in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               northwestern Europe.
                                                                            10                                                                                                                         11
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
Contents
 13    Introductions
 14    Foreword
 22    Country by country summaries
 24    Germany
 26
 28
 30
       France
       United Kingdom
       Italy
                                                                          Introduction
 32    Spain
                                                When the last edition of the Eight Competitiveness Report was published, “a pandemic”
 34    Poland                                    was mostly seen in textbooks or science fiction movies. A face mask was usually seen
 36    The Netherlands                    to be worn by doctors in operating theatres. Vaccines were often associated with small children or
 38    Belgium                             as a part of travelling abroad to far-off destinations. Today’s situation is completely different from
 40    Switzerland                       the one we encountered two years ago. In 2020 we are faced with the first true global pandemic in a
                                         globalized world. The pandemic has had a significant impact to societies, economies, health systems
 42    Russia
                                         and government budgets. Yet we have equally witnessed the strength and resilience of our systems.
 44    India                              The unique combination of academic research, innovation and market economies have led to the
                                           development of multiple vaccines in record speed. It is particularly impressive that there was less
 46    Rankings                                than a year between the outbreak of Covid-19 and the administration of the first vaccines.

 98    Socioeconomic models                                   It is clear that countries have been impacted in various ways
                                            resulting in different outcomes. Put someone under stress, and their true nature will emerge.
104    Big powers                               The same goes for countries. Whether it was the tackling of the pandemic outbreak,
                                               the appetite for international cooperation, crisis management, research into a vaccine,
110    About Us                                    the deployment of financial and economic support or a policy agenda to restart
                                               the economy - every country acted according to the way they are institutionally wired.
 112   About Eight Competitiveness Lab                In the past one and a half years we have been able to learn a lot about how
 113   About Eight International                     countries function - and how this ties in with the societal choices they make.
 114   Methodology                              This report is about the choices countries make - and what it means for their societal,
 115   Acknowledgement                                                          economic and financial future.
 116   Contact

                         03
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
1
                      FOREWORD

                      What is
                      competitiveness
                                                                                                                                          Ultimately competitiveness measures the
                                                                                                                                          attractiveness of a country. Not just to foreign
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Like in previous editions, this
                                                                                                                                          investors that could be lured with low taxes or           report presents a ranking of all
                                                                                                                                          flexible business rules. But also the appeal to                       rankings.
                                                                                                                                          its own population, to students, researchers,
                                                                                                                                          entrepreneurs, etc. The appeal to foreign
                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have compiled the most relevant rankings
                                                                                                                                          visitors researchers, investors and ultimately
                                                                                                                                                                                                  into four different themes: Economic Strength,
                                                                                                                                          the appeal to other countries - is my country a
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Business Environment, Political and Social
                                                                                                                                          “model” that other countries want “to copy”?
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stability and finally Education and Quality of
                                                                                                                                          Those are questions or policy challenges
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Life. For each country, the unique combination
                                                                                                                                          that go beyond a “low taxes or cheap labor”
                             For us competitiveness is not just ‘‘having the lowest tax rate”. If that                                    approach. Which socio-economic model is
                                                                                                                                                                                                  of rankings makes up their socio-economic
                                                                                                                                                                                                  DNA. They are an imprint of a country’s identity,
                                 were the case then many poor countries around the world would                                            most competitive? Fast-growing and unfree or
                                                                                                                                                                                                  the reflection of the inner self of a country. The
                                                                        rank as highly competitive.                                       rich and democratic? High quality education
                                                                                                                                                                                                  rankings tell us how countries or power blocks
                                                                                                                                          and low infrastructure quality or a lower
                                                                                                                                                                                                  are actually perceived by others. However, these
                                                                                                                                          ranking in education yet a higher ranking in
                                                                                                                                                                                                  metrics and rankings are not set in stone. As
                                                                                                                                          health?
                                                                                                                                                                                                  is clear from the report, many countries move
                                                                                                                                                                                                  up or down the rankings between different
                                                                                                                                                                                                  years - sometimes quite significantly. It is the
                      Which country would you like your children to              For some nations, low taxes are an important                                                                     lens through which countries are perceived by
                      live in? Which country would you gladly move               policy tool - small, open, advanced economies                                                                    investors and visitors.
                      to? Not just for a holiday but permanently.                are a case in point. Take Ireland, Estonia, or
                      When answering these questions we                          Luxembourg. What these countries lack in size
                      automatically make an assessment of the                    and scale relative to their big neighbours, they
                      different characteristics of a country. Would              try to make up in tax breaks or lower taxes.
                      you like to live in fast-growing China or in free
                      Denmark? Would you like to live in the highly              Yet lower taxes are not a structural and exclusive   2
                                                                                                                                          Covid has reinforced
                      educated United States or in highly educated               solution to increased prosperity. Today we are
                      as well as gender equal Sweden? Low taxation               seeing an international drive for an international
                      might cross our minds. But we would also                   minimum tax on corporations - under the
                      prefer inequality to be relatively low. The
                      quality of higher education and the quality of
                      infrastructure should be to a sufficient degree.
                                                                                 impulse of the OECD, the European Union and
                                                                                 even the new Biden administration.
                                                                                 This could prove to be a game-changer.
                                                                                                                                          the importance of competitiveness
                      The health system as well as the absence                   This would mean that businesses could no
                      of corruption count. Whether women have                    longer globally shop for the lowest tax rate and
                      equal opportunities or care that is given to the           establish themselves there. Furthermore, the             Covid19 has had a profound impact on every society in the world and will continue to do so for
                      environment and climate.                                   havoc that the pandemic has wreaked upon                 some time to come. Are the metrics in this competitiveness report still relevant in the era of
                                                                                 government finances will only further hasten             Covid19? The answer is nuanced: they are and they aren’t. Let’s first see why they are.
                      That is exactly what we are measuring in this              the end of the era of aggressive corporate tax
                      fifth edition of the Eight Competitiveness                 planning. It would mean that different metrics              It is the case that different societal models have reacted differently
                      Report. These are exactly the yardsticks that              will gain much more importance. Especially for             to the outbreak of the pandemic. An instructive way of looking at this
                      we are providing. For us, competitiveness is not           the smaller open economies it means that other
                      just “having the lowest tax rate”. If that were the        qualities will become more crucial. Equality,                            is the so-called Covid19 impossible trilemma.
                      case then many developing countries around                 freedom of the press, quality of education,
                      the world would rank as highly competitive.                health, democracy or social progress.                    The different rankings provide each country or socio-economic model with a unique fingerprint
                      However, this is not the case. Everybody sees                                                                       or DNA. It is the case that different societal models have reacted differently to the outbreak of
                      that low taxes do not equal competitiveness.                                                                        the pandemic. An instructive way of looking at this is the so-called Covid19 impossible trilemma.
                                                                                                                                          Imagine a Newton’s pendulum with three spheres representing different aspects of the Covid19
                                                                                                                                          pandemic: health, economy, and freedom. Policy makers that wanted to tackle the pandemic could
                                                                                                                                          choose one out of the three policy domains they wanted to control expecting certain influence on
                                                                                                                                          the health status of their citizens. It seems impossible to control the three at the same time.
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                            14                                                                                                               15
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
Some countries chose to cushion the blow to
                                                                                         the economy as much as possible as well as
                                                                                                                                                   The way countries managed
                                                                                         to get the pandemic under control as soon                 the pandemic, the economic
                                                                                         as possible. The only way to do this was by                 fallout, the restrictions of
                                                                                         restricting the freedom of its citizens.                    movement as well as the
                                                                                         In those countries the pandemic got under                vaccination campaign and the
                                                                                         control relatively quickly and the economic
                                                                                         fallout was limited. China for example was
                                                                                                                                                  economic recovery are crucial
                                                                                         officially about the only economy in the                 elements to take into account
                                                                                         world that exhibited positive economic                          in future analyses.
                                                                                         growth over 2020 - this is living proof of this
                                                                                         approach. However, this increased economic             In particular when it comes to determining
                                                                                         resilience for the country came at the                 which socio-economic model is most
                                                                                         expense of freedoms on an individual level.            prosperous.

                                                                                         Another group of countries resolutely chose            Are free societies also resilient societies?
                                                                                         freedom and the economy. Guaranteeing                  What does a fast vaccination campaign tell
                                                                                         people’s freedom of movement and keeping               us about a country’s appeal to investors,
                                                                                         the economy for as long, and as much as                students or migrants? Maybe it tells us
                                                                                         possible. This came at the price of a higher           something about scientific prowess or about
                                                                                         death toll and more stress on their healthcare         logistical excellence. About societal resilience
                                                                                         systems. Countries like the United States              or about vaccine protectionism. Which
                                                                                         or Sweden can be found in this category. A             societies are more resilient? Free ones or
                                                                                         last group of countries wanted to safeguard            less free ones? Unequal ones or equal ones?
                                                                                         their population’s hard won freedoms as                These are interesting metrics and debates
                                                                                         much as possible and at the same time get              that we need to watch out for in the period to
                                                                                         the pandemic under control. The only way to            come.
                                                                                         achieve this was to sacrifice big parts of the
                                                                                         economy - restrictions on opening hours or              There are also non-Covid related
                                                                                         the closing down of entire sectors led to big            metrics that will become more
                                                                                         economic losses. Most European countries
                                                                                         fall into this category.
                                                                                                                                                 important in the next couple of
                                                                                                                                                 years. Climate change might be
                                                                                                                                                the biggest challenge humankind
                                                                                           Time will tell which approach                         has ever been confronted with.
                                                                                           proved to be the best. Health,
                                                                                          economy and freedom are not                           Consequently, if we are able to tackle this, it
                                                                                                                                                will be one of the greatest feats ever achieved
                                                                                            simply levers that are pulled
                                                                                                                                                - even greater than the combustion engine,
                                                                                           at will. What countries chose,                       flight, computing or modern medicine.
                                                                                            corresponds closely to their                        Climate change is the challenge of our times.
                                                                                          socio-economic DNA - which in                         It is therefore to be expected that we will
                                                                                         turn ties in closely with the way                      start measuring countries more and more
                                                                                                                                                against this yardstick. Climate leadership,
                                                                                         countries tackled the pandemic.
                                                                                                                                                CO2-neutrality or the way countries manage
                                                                                                                                                the energy or climate transition will become
                                                                                         That brings us to the reason why the metrics           important metrics. What are countries doing
                                                                                         in this report are no longer the only relevant         in this respect? This could include scientific
                                                                                         ones. If we want to assess the appeal of               development, reduction of CO2 emissions,
                                                                                         countries, there are other metrics that we             the development of clean technologies
                                                                                         will need to be looking at much more in the            or managing this transition in a way that
                                                                                         future.                                                doesn’t compromise on traditional metrics.
                     Imagine a Newton’s pendulum with three spheres representing
                    different aspects of the Covid19 pandemic: health, economy, and
                  freedom. Policy makers that wanted to tackle the pandemic could
                     choose only one out of the three policy domains they wanted to
                     control expecting certain influence on the health status of their
                  citizens. It seems impossible to control the three at the same time.
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                16                                                                                         17
Report 2021 EIGHT COMPETITIVENESS LAB - EQS COCKPIT
3
                                                                           Europe’s moment of truth
                                                                           In this fifth edition of the Eight                         Europe stands for openness
                                                                           Competitiveness Report we have added a
                                                                           particular emphasis on Europe. There are
                                                                                                                                        to the rest of the world.
                                                                           a number of reasons for this. First of all, the            But the pandemic exposed
                                                                           coming years will be crucial for Europe as well             that openness can equally
                                                                           as for the European Union. The economic                  increase our vulnerabilities and
                                                                           damage from Covid19 was disproportionately                         weaknesses.
                                                                           large for the European continent in 2020.
                                                                           Finally, although still sizable, the stimulus
                                                                           programme in the European Union is dwarfed              Counting on open borders and a free
                                                                           by those in the United States where newly-              flow of goods makes us more vulnerable
                                                                           elected president Joe Biden has announced               when borders close and we are in need
                                                                           massive fiscal stimulus and infrastructure              of strategic assets. A stronger and better
                                                                           investment programmes.                                  Europe could and should emerge from the
                                                                                                                                   aftermath of this crisis.

                                                                            Big crises have always been                            In this report we have therefore attempted
                                                                                                                                   to show the diversity of Europe. Often single
                                                                           moments in which Europe rises                           European countries are pitted against China
                                                                           to the occasion and integrates                          or the United States. Whether it comes to
                                                                                       further.                                    size of the economy, number of universities
                                                                                                                                   or number of companies in the Fortune
                                                                           Adding to that, the increasing rivalry between          Global 500, not a single European country
                                                                           China and the United States will sooner or later        can match those mammoth economies’
                                                                           force uneasy geopolitical choices on Europe as          population, GDP or number of multinational
                                                                           well.                                                   companies.

                                                                           That is why the recovery from the pandemic              However, when we compare the European
                                                                           will be Europe’s moment of truth. Big                   Union as a whole, the picture changes
                                                                           crises have always been moments in which                dramatically. Looking at the population,
                                                                           Europe rises to the occasion and integrates             Europe has about 100 million more
                                                                           further. Not long after Second World War,               inhabitants than the United States. When
                                                                           the combination of Marshall plan funds and              it comes to globalization, Europe is by far
                                                                           the founding of the European Union for                  the most globalized economic power in
                                                                           Coal and Steel provided the money and the               the world - far more than the US, China
                                                                           political will to grow together and to integrate        or Japan. When it comes to the biggest
                                                                           further. The European Union in its current              companies in the world however, Europe
                                                                           form traces its roots back to the end of the            only slightly lags behind China or the US.
                                                                           Second World War. Look more recently at the             Of the 500 biggest companies in the world,
                                                                           eurozone sovereign debt crisis or the refugee           roughly one out of four is Chinese and about
                                                                           crisis. Time and again Europe takes steps in            the same proportion is American. One out
                                                                           advancing towards more integration and                  of five hails from the European Union. The
                                                                           more effective governance. But some things              conclusion is clear: were the European
                                                                           never change: with every new crisis the death           Union a “real country”, it could definitely
                                                                           of the European model is announced. With                rival with the US and China in terms of size
                                                                           every new crisis this assessment proves to be           and power.
                                                                           premature and ill-founded.
                                                                                                                                   This exercise has been very instructive
                                                                           Given the size of the post-Covid challenge,             and useful. Rather than paint a picture of
                                                                           the task before us is daunting. Europe has              diametrically opposed socio-economic
                                                                           learned that protectionism or nationalism               models in Europe, the result is much more
                                                                           are not helpful when it comes to tackling               nuanced. Every socio-economic model
                                                                           cross-border problems or crises.                        excels at something and adds value to the
                                                                                                                                   rest of the region.

                                            The conclusion is clear:
Competitiveness

                      Were the European Union a ‘‘real country’’
                  it could definitely rival with the US and China.
Report 2021

                                                                                                                              19
4
                  Latin Europe has by far the largest population
                  and counts the most companies in the
                  Fortune Global 500. They equally lead the
                                                                         What sets Europe apart however and what
                                                                         weakens us at the same time is a lack of
                                                                         common vision and common pride of what
                                                                                                                              A lot will change
                  ranks when it comes to universities and the            it can achieve on a global scale. Europeans
                  Top Master’s in Management. Germanic                   often see the half empty glass of division,          A lot will change in the post-covid world.               This competitiveness report provides a unique
                  Europe tops the list when it comes to                  whereas we could just as easily see the half         We will be faced with a very unequal                     lens on the different socio-economic models
                  competitiveness and Human Development.                 full glass of strength through diversity.            economic recovery across countries - based               around the world. The different rankings can
                  British Europe leads in economic freedom and                                                                on their access to vaccines or the availability          help us navigate the main tendencies. Which
                  Ease of Doing Business. The Nordics dominate           What we possess in terms of prosperity,              of recovery funds. A fast recovery is in the             countries are getting freer, which ones are
                  all the rankings which refer to Political and          historical achievements and wealth we                offing for those who have already vaccinated             getting more unequal, who has the best
                  Social Stability: from social progress to              seem to lack in ambition, optimism and               a majority of their population and those who             universities and who is leading when it comes
                  inequality and from press freedom to absence           entrepreneurial spirit.                              have very big recovery plans. On the other               to the environment or gender equality. That in
                  of corruption. The Visegrád region in turn has                                                              end of the spectrum are countries in which               itself is very instructive to help us understand
                  the most business friendly tax environment.                                                                 vaccination still has to gain speed and where            the fate of nations. For Europe, this
                                                                            If one thing could strengthen                     government coffers were already empty to                 competitiveness report provides interesting
                                                                                                                              begin with.                                              insights as well.
                                                                          Europe’s position in the world, it
                   If this Competitiveness Report                         would be more self-confidence.                      Finally the fallout from the pandemic on a                  Although we have different
                    teaches us one thing it is that                        If you want others to believe in                   national and international level will determine
                                                                                                                                                                                             socio-economic models
                   Europe is a strong and diverse                                                                             how we will build back again. There are
                                                                          you, the precondition is that you                   uncertainties as well as certainties. One thing                 in Europe, they are all
                    continent. The same regional                                  believe in yourself.                        is already certain, the world after Covid will be            unmistakably... European.
                  differences and socio-economic                                                                              a much more indebted one. The uncertainties,                  It is this unique blend of
                  differences exist here as they do                                                                           on the other hand, are numerous. Will
                                                                                                                                                                                            individual freedoms and
                                                                         The post-covid world, the recovery stimulus          the pandemic leave permanent scars on
                    in other regions of the world.                                                                            international cooperation and will we face                 collective decision-making, of
                                                                         and the climate transition could prove
                                                                         catalysts for a renewal of Europe. The               a more divided world where trade and                        entrepreneurship and social
                                                                                                                              international relations get restructured along
                  The Benelux is the most globalized region              competitiveness rankings show that Europe
                                                                                                                              ideological lines?                                                     protection.
                  and boasts the best infrastructure quality.            has a lot to show for.
                                                                                                                              Or will the pandemic remind us of the
                  Too often this diversity in Europe is seen                                                                  need for international cooperation and                   It is important to realize that our unique
                  as divisive - by outsiders and sometimes               Could it be that it only lacks self-confidence       coordination? While it is too early to tell,             European model is not to be taken for
                  even by Europeans themselves. The same                 to become a true superpower?                         the next couple of years will prove critical.            granted. In the meantime Covid might fuel a
                  regional diversity however is seen in the                                                                                                                            possible divergence between models. Highly
                  United States or China as well. Beijing is                                                                  What is certain is that the race to fight climate        indebted countries might see their recovery
                  not the same as Xinjiang, just as Alabama                                                                   change will definitely pick up speed. 2020 was           hampered whereas highly competitive ones
                  has a completely different profile than                                                                     not only the year of the first global pandemic,          might recover faster. This one of a kind model
                  California or New York, or Maharashtra than                                                                 it was also the hottest year on record since             is not irreversible just like it is not guaranteed.
                  West Bengal. Yet in Europe this diversity                                                                   measurements began. 2021 seems to follow                 Rather the contrary: to maintain it, Europeans
                  is usually seen as divisive, while for other                                                                the same path. More and more countries                   must continuously guard and actively protect
                  power blocks it is seen as a strength. If this                                                              are gearing up for massive investments in                our common values. In particular in times
                                                                                                                              cleantech, renewable energy as well as a                 of increasing public debt, rising inequality,
                  Competitiveness Report teaches us one
                                                                                                                              wholesale reduction of their carbon emissions.           protectionism and challenges like the climate
                  thing it is that Europe is a strong and diverse                                                                                                                      transition, it is of utmost importance that
                  continent. The same regional differences                                                                    Whatever happens in the next couple                      Europeans tackle these together.
                  and socio-economic differences exist here as                                                                of years and whatever turns events take,
                  they do in other regions of the world.                                                                      this competitiveness report will serve as a              There is so much more that unites Europeans
                                                                                                                              useful yardstick. Which economic model                   than there are things that divides them.
                  Yet despite these different models, they                                                                    will thrive? It might well be the case that a            Whichever way you look at the rankings in this
                  are not diametrically opposed. They are all                                                                 country’s competitiveness proves decisive in             report, Europe emerges as a unique spot in
                  variations of the same European model.                                                                      the recovery. More competitive economies                 the world. Free, prosperous, highly educated,
                  What could this European model be? It                                                                       might recover faster and with less permanent             innovative and leading in a number of fields. It
                  is a good balance between freedom and                                                                       damage. Will countries with lower inequality             is on these strengths that we together should
                  the state. It is the combination of freedom                                                                 fare better? How will we reduce covid-induced            build to make our societies and economies
                                                                                                                              inequality? Will the better educated countries           stronger, better and more just. We hope this
                  and prosperity. It is the symbiosis between
                                                                                                                              cope better with the job displacement from               competitiveness report helps you navigate the
                  private enterprise and public policy.
                                                                                                                              the pandemic and the lockdown? Will the                  very interesting and transformative years that
                                                                                                                              environmentally strongest countries also lead            are upon us.
                                                                                                                              the race to fight against climate change? Will
                                                                                                                              the most globalised countries suffer from well
                                                                                                                              increased protectionism or will they perform
                                                                                                                              in a world where international cooperation
                                                                                                                              becomes more important again? Will the
                                                                                                                              most free countries build back better -
                                                                                                                              through the forces of creative destruction and
                                                                                                                              free entrepreneurship?
Competitiveness

                                                                                                                              Or will less free countries recover - through
                                                                                                                              top-down planning and centralized
Report 2021

                                                                                                                              strategies?

                                                                    20                                                                                                            21
Country
                  by country
                  summaries
Competitiveness
Report 2021
Germany                                                                                        Germany
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF GERMANY IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS?
                                                                                                                        Traditionally, Germany holds a superior                                               However, the level of students in secondary
                                                                                                                        place in various rankings. It is to be found                                          school is falling, which should widen the gap
                                                                                            2019/2020   2015/2016       in the top 10 of the global competitiveness                                           between low-skilled workers and people with
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)              4/193       4/193       →   index and remains one of the most                                                     a higher degree over time.
                                                                                                                        stable countries from political and social
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                          19/192      17/192      ↓
                                                                                                                        perspectives. Even though it should not lose                                          When it comes to forward-looking attitudes,
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                            18/192      19/192      ↑   sight of economic freedom and the ease                                                Germany is scoring quite well. With regard
                   STRENGTH                                                                                             of doing business - two indicators in which                                           to the environmental performance index
                                                                                                                        Germany lost some ground.                                                             the country has moved up a stunning 20
                                                                                                                                                                                                              positions. The outcome of the upcoming
                                                                                                                        Further on, it consolidated its 4th place in the                                      elections in September will also influence
                                                                                                                        world economies rating, the top 4 of which                                            Germany’s position in the world. Regardless
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                       6/191       27/186      ↑   remains completely unchanged since 2016.                                              of who comes to power, the rest of Europe
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                    22/190      15/189      ↓   Germany is also the world’s third exporter                                            will look for climate and economic leadership
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                                 29/184      17/186      ↓   behind the US and China. In accordance                                                to Germany. Environmental leadership from
                                                                                                                        with this, the country also appears in the top                                        a big and open economy should be a boost
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                              7/141       5/138       ↓
                                                                                                                        10 of the globalization index with a remarkable                                       for the EU’s climate ambition in the following
                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                    8/141       7/138       ↓   improvement of 21 places. Moreover Germany                                            years and decades.
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                        5/192       5/192       →   equally occupies an elevated 7th position in
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                   15/36       21/35       ↑
                                                                                                                        the global competitiveness index.

                                                                                                                        Germany is also holding on to its 3rd place
                                                                                                                        in the masters in management index and
                                                                                                                        German universities are classified as the 4th
                                                                                                                        best in the world.
                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                       9/162       10/157      ↑
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                           14/167      13/167      ↓
                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                     11/159      10/159      ↓
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                             17/103      14/106      ↓   GERMANY RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX

              POLITICAL &         GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                         10/146      13/142      ↑
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                                 11/179      16/165      ↑
                                                                                                                                                                                    RANKING PER CRITERIA
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                               9/179       11/175      ↑

                                                                                                                                     TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                 LOWEST PERFORMANCES
                                                                                                                        2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019    OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES

                                                                                                                           1       • Renewable energy regulation                                                113 • Complexity of tariffs
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                       19/77       14/70       ↓
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                    4/63        3/63        ↓      1       • Environment-related treaties in force                                      111 • Terrorism incidence

                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                         3/192       3/192       →      1       • Mean years of schooling                                                    102 • Flexibility of wage determination
                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                                6/189       3/188       ↓      1       • Border clearance efficiency                                                100 • Redundancy costs
                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                           10/180      30/178      ↑      1       • Insolvency regulatory framework                                            99   • Labour tax rate
               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                    17/156      16/156      ↓
              QUALITY OF LIFE                                                                                              2       • Electricity access                                                         97   • Conflict of interest regulation
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                  23/169      16/163      ↓
                                                                                                                           3       • Scientific publications                                                    77   • Imports of goods and services
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                                21/64       15/62       ↓
                                                                                                                           4       • Research institutions prominence                                           72   • Cost of starting a business

                                                                                                                           2019 data - Published in October 2019
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                        Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                        http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

                                                                       24                                                                                                                            25
France                                                                                        France
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF FRANCE IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS?
                                                                                                                       Generally speaking France holds a high                                                the environmental performance index.
                                                                                                                       position in the business environment
                                                                                           2019/2020   2015/2016       rankings. France has moved up 6 positions                                             France equally does well when it comes to
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)             7/193       6/193       ↓   in the global competitiveness index and is                                            higher education. The country leads the list
                                                                                                                       now in 15th place overall. Its infrastructure                                         of ‘top masters in management’ and their
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                         22/192      22/192      →
                                                                                                                       is also of elevated quality, ranking France                                           universities are among the top 10 in the
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                           23/192      24/192      ↑   9th. It is therefore not surprising that France                                       world. One area of improvement would be
                   STRENGTH                                                                                            is the 4th biggest supplier of companies to                                           to invest more in primary and secondary
                                                                                                                       the Fortune Global 500 list. Conversely, it                                           education, which is lagging behind.
                                                                                                                       has made a decline of 5 places in the ease
                                                                                                                       of doing business ranking and it should
                                                                                                                       concentrate more on economic freedom.
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                      10/191      19/186      ↑
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                   32/190      27/189      ↓   France is the 6th or 7th largest economy in
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                                64/184      75/186      ↑   the world - depending on the exchange rate
                                                                                                                       taken into account - and it is a very open one.
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                             15/141      21/138      ↑
                                                                                                                       In the globalization index, France moves up 9
                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                   9/141       8/138       ↓   positions and is in the global top 10.
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                       4/192       4/192       →   In addition, the country advances 5 spots in
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                  32/36       35/35       ↑

                                                                                                                       FRANCE RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX
                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                      33/162      33/157      →
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                          24/167      24/167      →
                                                                                                                                                                                   RANKING PER CRITERIA
                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                    18/159      16/159      ↓
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                            20/103      25/106      ↑
                                  GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                        15/146      18/142      ↑                TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                 LOWEST PERFORMANCES
              POLITICAL &                                                                                              2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019    OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                                34/179      45/165      ↑
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                              23/179      23/175      →
                                                                                                                          2       • Fixed-broadband Internet subscriptions                                     141 • Labour tax rate
                                                                                                                          2       • Electricity access                                                         121 • Terrorism incidence
                                                                                                                          3       • Research institutions prominence                                           113 • Complexity of trade tariffs
                                                                                                                          5       • Scientific publications                                                    97   • Internal labour mobility
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                      26/77       26/70       →      6       • Healthy life expectancy                                                    96   • Imports of goods and services
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                   7/63        6/63        ↓      7       • Environment-related treaties in force                                      92   • Cooperation in labour-employer relations
                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                        1/192       1/192       →
                                                                                                                          8       • Time to start a business                                                   90   • Hiring and firing practices
                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                               26/189      25/188      ↓
                                                                                                                          10      • Public budget transparency                                                 86   • Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions
                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                          5/180       10/178      ↑
               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                   23/156      32/156      ↑      2019 data - Published in October 2019
              QUALITY OF LIFE
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                 12/169      14/163      ↑
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                               46/64       53/62       ↑
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                       Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                       http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

                                                                       26                                                                                                                           27
United Kingdom                                                                                   United Kingdom
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF UNITED KINGDOM IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS ?
                                                                                                                          When it comes to the business                                                         With a 4th place in the environmental
                                                                                                                          environment, it is interesting to note that                                           performance index, the UK can safely
                                                                                              2019/2020   2015/2016       the United Kingdom is frequently present                                              claim to be a green leader. Also notable in
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)                6/193       5/193       ↓   in the top 10. The country is already the 6th                                         this year’s rankings is the UK’s advance to
                                                                                                                          most represented country in the Fortune                                               the 5th position in the Globalization Index.
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                            21/192      21/192      →
                                                                                                                          Global 500. With an 8th place in the ease of                                          Nonetheless it remains to be seen whether
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                              22/192      21/192      ↓   doing business ranking, a 7th place in the                                            the UK will be able to hold on to this top spot
                   STRENGTH                                                                                               economic freedom index and a 9th place in                                             - in particular after Brexit sealed the UK’s
                                                                                                                          the global competitiveness index, it is also                                          withdrawal from the European Union.
                                                                                                                          a great country to start a new business.
                                                                                                                          The infrastructure quality however made
                                                                                                                          a small decline, the UK should pay more
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                         5/191       20/186      ↑   attention to improve in this area.
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                      8/190       6/189       ↓
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                                   7/184       10/186      ↑   This country holds the bronze medal in the
                                                                                                                          worldwide ranking of universities. Meanwhile,
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                                9/141       7/138       ↓
                                                                                                                          secondary schools have started to catch up.
                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                      21/141      9/138       ↓   It has moved up 9 places in the PISA ranking,
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                          6/192       6/192       →   which puts them in 14th position.
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                     22/36       16/35       ↓

                                                                                                                          THE UK RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX
                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                         17/162      10/157      ↓
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                             16/167      16/167      →
                                                                                                                                                                                      RANKING PER CRITERIA
                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                       20/159      18/159      ↓
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                               32/103      43/106      ↑
                                  GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                           21/146      20/142      ↓                TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                 LOWEST PERFORMANCES
              POLITICAL &                                                                                                 2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019    OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                                   35/179      38/165      ↑
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                                 11/179      12/175      ↑
                                                                                                                             1       • Cost of starting a business                                                125 • Terrorism incidence
                                                                                                                             2       • Electricity access                                                         113 • Complexity of trade tariffs
                                                                                                                             2       • Scientific publications                                                    104 • Imports of goods and services
                                                                                                                             2       • Renewable energy regulation                                                79   • Fibre internet subscriptions
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                         14/77       23/70       ↑      5       • E-Participation                                                            70   • Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                      3/63        4/63        ↑
                                                                                                                             5       • Research institutions prominence                                           70   • Organized crimes
                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                           2/192       2/192       →
                                                                                                                             6       • School life expectancy                                                     61   • Government long-term vision
                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                                  13/189      13/188      →
                                                                                                                             6       • Airport connectivity
                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                             4/180       12/178      ↑
               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                      13/156      23/156      ↑      2019 data - Published in October 2019
              QUALITY OF LIFE
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                    19/169      23/163      ↑
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                                  19/64       14/62       ↓
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                          Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                          http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

                                                                       28                                                                                                                              29
Italy                                                                                        Italy
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF ITALY IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS?
                                                                                                                      Given its recent weak track record in                                                 Italy stands out in different rankings.
                                                                                                                      economic growth, it is encouraging that                                               The country is present in the top 10 of both
                                                                                          2019/2020   2015/2016       Italy has moved up 14 positions in the                                                the ranking of top universities worldwide
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)            8/193       8/193       →   competitiveness index, putting the country                                            as well as in the master of management
                                                                                                                      in 30th place overall. The same applies                                               ranking. Furthermore it excels in terms of
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                        23/192      23/192      →
                                                                                                                      for the index of economic freedom and                                                 overall health with a second place in the
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                          28/192      28/192      →   its infrastructure quality. In both fields                                            healthiest country index.
                   STRENGTH                                                                                           progress has been made. Yet there is
                                                                                                                      far more potential. The overall ease of                                               For the moment Italy has a lower female
                                                                                                                      doing business could equally see some                                                 employment rate than most European
                                                                                                                      improvement.                                                                          countries, which is indicated by their descent
                                                                                                                                                                                                            in the gender gap rating from position
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                     23/191      24/186      ↑   When we take a look at the perceived level                                            50 to 76. This country should invest more in
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                  58/190      45/189      ↓   of corruption, Italy is near the bottom of the                                        the presence of women in the workplace.
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                               68/184      86/186      ↑   European league table. Further efforts in
                                                                                                                      improving this would be beneficial to the
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                            30/141      44/138      ↑
                                                                                                                      country’s appeal.
                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                  18/141      26/138      ↑
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                      15/192      11/192      ↓
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                 36/36       34/35       ↓

                                                                                                                      ITALY RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX

                                                                                                                                                                                  RANKING PER CRITERIA
                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                     31/162      31/157      →
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                         29/167      21/167      ↓
                                                                                                                                   TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                 LOWEST PERFORMANCES
                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                   23/159      26/159      ↑   2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019    OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                           36/103      33/106      ↓

              POLITICAL &         GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                       76/146      50/142      ↓      1       • Energy efficiency regulation                                               139 • Diversity of workforce
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                               41/179      77/165      ↑      1       • State of cluster development                                               138 • Burden of government regulation
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                             52/179      60/175      ↑      2       • Electricity access                                                         135 • Flexibility of wage determination
                                                                                                                         3       • Extent of market dominance                                                 132 • Efficiency of legal framework
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    in settling disputes
                                                                                                                         5       • Workers’ rights
                                                                                                                                                                                                              130 • Government long-term vision
                                                                                                                         5       • Healthy life expectancy
                                                                                                                                                                                                              130 • Pay and productivity
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                     34/77       33/70       ↓      6       • Renewable energy regulation
                                                                                                                                                                                                              130 • Labour tax rate
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                  7/63        7/63        →      7       • Scientific publications
                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                       6/192       6/192       →                                                                                           127 • Hiring and firing practices

                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                              30/189      28/188      ↓      2019 data - Published in October 2019

                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                         20/180      29/178      ↑
               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                  30/156      50/156      ↑
              QUALITY OF LIFE
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                2/169       1/163       ↓
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                              60/64       58/62       ↓
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                      Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                      http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

                                                                       30                                                                                                                          31
Spain                                                                                           Spain
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF SPAIN IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS?
                                                                                                                         When looking at the business                                                          For a European country, the country is also
                                                                                                                         environment, it is the infrastructure quality                                         relatively unequal - it occupies the 43rd
                                                                                          2019/2020   2015/2016          of Spain that stands out. With a 7th position                                         position in the Gini coefficient ranking.
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)            13/193      14/193      ↑      in the rankings, the infrastructure can be
                                                                                                                         assessed as very advanced. It also rose 9                                             However, when it comes to inequality
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                        30/192      29/192      ↓
                                                                                                                         places in the global competitiveness index.                                           between men and women, Spain is
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                          32/192      32/192      →      Hopefully Spain can keep up this trend                                                improving. In fact, the country rose sharply in
                   STRENGTH                                                                                              and extend it to the other rankings, such                                             the global gender gap index, coming in at 8th
                                                                                                                         as ease of doing business and economic                                                place. Moreover, several Spanish universities
                                                                                                                         freedom. Both rankings have improved,                                                 continue to be of top-quality. In terms of
                                                                                                                         but for Spain to be truly competitive there                                           health, Spain is beyond comparison, claiming
                                                                                                                         is still a road ahead.                                                                the gold medal as the ‘healthiest country’ in
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                     17/191      15/186      ↓                                                                                            the world.
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                  30/190      33/189      ↑      On the other hand, Spain, like a number of
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                               39/184      43/186      ↑      southern European countries, will depend
                                                                                                                         heavily on the rebound of tourism after the
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                            23/141      32/138      ↑
                                                                                                                         pandemic, which can be jeopardized by a
                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                  7/141       10/138      ↑      weak consumer confidence. Especially that
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                      12/192      12/192      →      the country now ranks 36th in terms of global
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                 27/36       28/35       ↑
                                                                                                                         consumer confidence.

                                                                                                                         SPAIN RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX
                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                     29/162      30/157      ↑
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                         22/167      17/167      ↓
                                                                                                                                                                                     RANKING PER CRITERIA
                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                   19/159      19/159      →
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                           43/103      40/106      ↓
                                  GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                       8/146       29/142      ↑                   TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                 LOWEST PERFORMANCES
              POLITICAL &                                                                                                2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019    OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                               29/179      34/165      ↑
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                             32/179      41/175      ↑
                                                                                                                            1       • Road connectivity                                                          133 • Labour tax rate
                                                                                                                            2       • Electricity access                                                         121 • Government long-term vision
                                                                                                                            3       • Healthy life expectancy                                                    116 • Hiring and firing practices
                                                                                                                            5       • E-Participation                                                            114 • Burden of government regulation
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                     n.a./77     29/70       n.a.      6       • Research institutions prominence                                           113 • Complexity of trade tariffs
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                  9/63        9/63        →
                                                                                                                            7       • Environment-related treaties in force                                      104 • Banks’ regulatory capital ratio
                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                       4/192       4/192       →
                                                                                                                            8       • Airport connectivity                                                       100 • Terrorism incidence
                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                              25/189      24/188      ↓
                                                                                                                            9       • Efficiency of train services                                               98   • Attitudes towards entrepreneurial risk
                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                         14/180      6/178       ↓
               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                  28/156      37/156      ↑         2019 data - Published in October 2019
              QUALITY OF LIFE
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                1/169       6/163       ↑
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                              36/64       31/62       ↓
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                         Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                         http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

                                                                       32                                                                                                                             33
Poland                                                                                        Poland
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF POLAND IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS?
                                                                                                                       Looking at Poland’s current business                                                  Another positive trend can be seen in the
                                                                                                                       environment, the country slightly                                                     global consumer confidence index, where
                                                                                           2019/2020   2015/2016       regressed in this year’s report. When it                                              Poland has moved up to the 14th place
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)             22/193      25/193      ↑   comes to the ease of doing business, the                                              worldwide. Education has equally improved
                                                                                                                       country has also fallen in the rankings. The                                          further - Poland moves from the 19th to the
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                         39/192      35/192      ↓
                                                                                                                       same applies for the economic freedom                                                 11th position in the PISA global ranking.
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                           58/192      60/192      ↑   ranking and the global competitiveness
                   STRENGTH                                                                                            ranking. Although the fall is a small one,                                            Progress towards greater equality would
                                                                                                                       it should nevertheless be an appeal to                                                be welcome. When it comes to income
                                                                                                                       improve its position. On the positive                                                 inequality and the global gender gap, Poland
                                                                                                                       side, a remarkable rise of 31 places in the                                           fell in the rankings relative to the last report.
                                                                                                                       infrastructure quality index immediately
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                      33/191      23/186      ↓   stands out.
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                   40/190      25/189      ↓
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                                41/184      39/186      ↓   Poland is doing well in the field of education,
                                                                                                                       both in secondary and higher education.
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                             37/141      36/138      ↓
                                                                                                                       Within the “top masters in management
                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                   25/141      56/138      ↑   ranking” the country is ranked 8th worldwide.
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                       29/192      29/192      →
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                  34/36       29/35       ↓

                                                                                                                       POLAND RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX

                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                      45/162      29/157      ↓                                                               RANKING PER CRITERIA
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                          50/167      52/167      ↑
                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                    31/159      27/159      ↓
                                                                                                                                    TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                 LOWEST PERFORMANCES
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                            28/103      21/106      ↓   2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019    OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES

              POLITICAL &         GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                        40/146      38/142      ↓
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                                62/179      47/165      ↓      2       • Electricity access                                                         131 • Diversity of workforce
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                              45/179      30/175      ↓      3       • Mobile-broadband subscriptions                                             127 • Time to start a business
                                                                                                                          9       • Insolvency regulatory framework                                            127 • Internal labour mobility
                                                                                                                          13      • Railroad density                                                           123 • Government ensuring policy stability
                                                                                                                          13      • Pupil-to-teacher ratio in primary education                                121 • Efficiency of legal framework
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     in challenging regulations
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                      11/77       19/70       ↑      18      • Research institutions prominence
                                                                                                                                                                                                               118 • Judicial independence
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                   18/63       17/63       ↓      23      • Liner shipping connectivity
                                                                                                                                                                                                               118 • Ease of hiring foreign labour
                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                        8/192       6/192       ↓      24      • Mean years of school
                                                                                                                                                                                                               116 • Multi-stakeholder collaboration
                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                               35/189      33/188      ↓
                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                          37/180      38/178      ↑      2019 data - Published in October 2019

               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                   43/156      57/156      ↑
              QUALITY OF LIFE
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                 40/169      39/163      ↓
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                               14/64       28/62       ↑
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                       Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                       http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

                                                                       34                                                                                                                           35
The Netherlands                                                                                 The Netherlands
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF THE NETHERLANDS IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS?
                                                                                                                         The Netherlands can claim elevated                                                    The Netherlands are equally a very forward-
                                                                                                                         positions in a number of rankings                                                     looking country - the environment is
                                                                                             2019/2020   2015/2016       - whether it comes to global                                                          very important in Dutch politics and
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)               17/193      18/193      ↑   competitiveness, economic freedom or                                                  policymaking. This is highlighted by their
                                                                                                                         infrastructure quality. Compared to the                                               position in the environmental performance
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                           67/192      64/192      ↓
                                                                                                                         previous report, it became less convenient                                            index. Since the last edition of this report
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                             12/192      13/192      ↑   to do business in the Netherlands.                                                    the country moved up 25 positions in this
                   STRENGTH                                                                                                                                                                                    ranking.
                                                                                                                         Yet, its present business climate and its
                                                                                                                         supreme position in the press freedom                                                 There is room for improvement when it
                                                                                                                         index show why the Netherlands are often                                              comes to the equality between men and
                                                                                                                         regarded as a model for an open, democratic                                           women. The Netherlands fell from position 16
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                        2/191       1/186       ↓   and innovative country. It is no wonder that                                          to number 38.
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                     42/190      28/189      ↓   The Netherlands heads up the globalization
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                                  16/184      16/186      →   index together with Switzerland - this other
                                                                                                                         successful open economy.
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                               4/141       4/138       →

                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                     2/141       3/138       ↑
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                         10/192      9/192       ↓
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                    17/36       6/35        ↓

                                                                                                                         THE NETHERLANDS RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX

                                                                                                                                                                                     RANKING PER CRITERIA
                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                        14/162      15/157      ↑
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                            9/167       12/167      ↑
                                                                                                                                      TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                  LOWEST PERFORMANCES
                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                      10/159      6/159       ↓   2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019     OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                              11/103      8/106       ↓

              POLITICAL &         GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                          38/146      16/142      ↓      1       • Quality of land administration                                             128 • Flexibility of wage determination
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                                  5/179       2/165       ↓      1       • Environment-related treaties in force                                      113 • Complexity of tariffs
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                                8/179       8/175       →      1       • Exposure to unsafe drinking water                                          106 • Conflict of interest regulation
                                                                                                                            2       • Efficiency of seaport services                                             89   • Labour tax rate
                                                                                                                            2       • Reliance on professional management                                        73   • Terrorism incidence
                                                                                                                            2       • Quality of road infrastructure                                             72   • Internal labour mobility
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                        16/77       13/70       ↓      2       • Electricity access                                                         71   • Redundancy costs
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                     10/63       9/63        ↓      3       • Critical thinking in teaching                                              63   • Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions
                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                          4/192       3/192       ↓
                                                                                                                            2019 data - Published in October 2019
                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                                 9/189       8/188       ↓
                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                            11/180      36/178      ↑
               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                     6/156       7/156       ↑
              QUALITY OF LIFE
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                   15/169      13/163      ↓
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                                 11/64       18/62       ↑
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                         Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                         http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

                                                                       36                                                                                                                             37
Belgium                                                                                           Belgium
                         WHAT IS THE POSITION OF BELGIUM IN MAJOR INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS?
                                                                                                                           Within the ease of doing business index,                                              globalization index.
                                                                                                                           Belgium ranks quite poorly compared
                                                                                            2019/2020   2015/2016          to its European peers - occupying the                                                 It is also quite equal and Belgium is ranked in
                                  WORLD LARGEST ECONOMIES (GDP IN CURRENT US$)              26/193      24/193      ↓      46th position. Its complex network of                                                 position 7 when it comes to income equality.
                                                                                                                           procedures makes it harder for new                                                    In the world ranking for press freedom, it
                                  WORLD POPULATION                                          79/192      76/192      ↓
                                                                                                                           foreign businesses to operate locally. In                                             even moves up one place. This confirms
                   ECONOMIC       GDP PER CAPITA                                            20/192      20/192      →      addition, it also regressed in the global                                             Belgium’s position as a democratic hub,
                   STRENGTH                                                                                                competitiveness index. This country                                                   centrally located in northwestern Europe.
                                                                                                                           has already invested in improving its
                                                                                                                           infrastructure quality and its economic                                               Despite its small scale, Belgium can boast
                                                                                                                           freedom, as is clear from the rankings.                                               of quality education. Whether it comes to
                                                                                                                           Still, a more business friendly environment                                           the academic ranking of world universities
                                  GLOBALIZATION INDEX                                       6/191       6/186       →      would help increase Belgium’s appeal to                                               Belgium scores relatively well.
                                  EASE OF DOING BUSINESS                                    46/190      43/189      ↓      foreign investors and local businesses
                                  INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM                                 37/184      44/186      ↑      alike.
                                  GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                              22/141      17/138      ↓
                                                                                                                           Belgium is a small and open economy
                    BUSINESS      INFRASTRUCTURE QUALITY                                    14/141      21/138      ↑      that is exceedingly integrated globally. The
                  ENVIRONMENT     FORTUNE GLOBAL 500                                        21/192      21/192      →      country therefore ranks very favorably in the
                                  INTERNATIONAL TAX COMPETITIVENESS INDEX                   19/36       26/35       -

                                                                                                                           BELGIUM RANKING PER CRITERIA - GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX

                                  HUMAN FREEDOM INDEX                                       25/162      21/157      ↓
                                  DEMOCRACY INDEX                                           36/167      35/167      ↓
                                                                                                                                                                                       RANKING PER CRITERIA

                                  SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX                                     16/159      16/159      →
                                  GINI COEFFICIENT (NET INCOME)                             7/103       7/106       →                   TOP PERFORMANCES                                                                 LOWEST PERFORMANCES
                                                                                                                           2019         OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES                                                     2019    OUT OF 141 COUNTRIES
              POLITICAL &         GLOBAL GENDER GAP                                         27/146      24/142      ↓
            SOCIAL STABILITY      WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX                                 12/179      13/165      ↑
                                                                                                                              2       • School life expectancy                                                     140 • Labour tax rate
                                  CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX                               15/179      16/175      -
                                                                                                                              2       • Electricity access                                                         115 • Hiring and firing practices
                                                                                                                              4       • Railroad density                                                           113 • Complexity of trade tariffs
                                                                                                                              4       • Insolvency recovery rate                                                   110 • Internal labour mobility
                                                                                                                              7       • Imports of goods and services                                              108 • Flexibility of wage determination
                                  PISA GLOBAL RANKING                                       20/77       20/70       →
                                                                                                                              7       • Intellectual property protection                                           105 • Terrorism incidence
                                  ACADEMIC RANKING OF WORLD UNIVERSITIES                    13/63       12/63        ↓
                                                                                                                              8       • International co-inventions                                                97   • Attitudes towards entrepreneurial risk
                                  WORLD’S TOP MASTERS IN MANAGEMENT                         n.a.        n.a.        n.a.
                                  INDEX OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                                14/189      14/188      →         9       • Freedom of the press                                                       94   • Burden of government regulations

                                  ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX                           15/180      41/178       ↑        2019 data - Published in October 2019
               EDUCATION &        WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT                                    20/156      18/156       ↓
              QUALITY OF LIFE
                                  HEALTHIEST COUNTRY INDEX                                  28/169      26/163       ↓
                                  GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE                                29/64       27/62        ↓
Competitiveness
Report 2021

                                                                                                                           Source: Global Competitiveness Index 2019, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, 2019.
                                                                                                                           http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

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