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News & opinion

Innovation boosts Europe's lead as global investment destination

05 Nov 2018

- 78% of investors expect increased investment in Europe over next five years
- Europe’s perceived stability and commitment to sustainability declines

Europe’s attractiveness as an investment destination is on the rise compared to 2017, as the majority of global investors are more likely to invest in both the EU and the UK after Brexit, according to new survey findings.

Nearly 90% of investors said Europe has become a more attractive investment destination over the last five years, according to Invest Europe’s Global Investment Decision Makers Survey 2018, which the association will present at a high-level European Commission conference today.

Following last year’s inaugural survey, global investors still rank Europe above China and the USA for its highly skilled workforce, transport infrastructure and regulatory climate. They now perceive Europe to have moved ahead of the USA as the leader on innovation and entrepreneurship, taxation levels and access to global markets. However, Europe lags the USA on IT infrastructure and level of economic growth. Almost eight out of ten investors (78%) expect increased investment in Europe over the next five years, as they become more positive on investing in both the EU and the UK post-Brexit.

"Global investors are increasingly looking towards Europe,” said Michael Collins, CEO, Invest Europe. “The continent is now outshining China and the USA in many areas, from its skilled workforce to its open markets and thriving innovation. While Europe isn’t immune to the political and social strain being felt around the world, if policymakers focus on regulatory stability, investment in innovation and better capital markets integration, Europe can be on top in the years to come.”

Nine out of ten investors from the USA and China (both 91%) view Europe as more attractive than five years ago, up from approximately seven out of ten in last year’s survey (71% and 78% respectively). Around two in five investors from China (38%) say their view of Europe has improved because of a decline in the USA’s attractiveness, more than the 25% of respondents overall who said the same.

A clear majority of investors (82%) — especially those in China (97%) — state that a stable regulatory environment is important when making investment decisions, with 47% of investors rating Europe as a top performer on regulatory climate compared with the USA (32%) and China (22%). European policymakers can ensure the continent’s continued attractiveness by launching new investment incentives, investing in innovation and reviewing competition policy.

Global investors are most likely to consider Europe a global leader in finance and insurance, energy and the environment, and biotech and healthcare, while those from China see Europe as a global leader in most of the sectors tested.

However, investor confidence in Europe’s political stability fell from 50% to 40% year-on-year, while social stability dropped from 50% to 39%. Europe’s perceived commitment to sustainability and the environment — an important issue for 80% of investors — has also declined, from 74% to 50%. 

Invest Europe will present its survey findings today at the European Commission’s conference The Single Market as a Driver of Investment in Europe, where Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will speak. The event is part of Invest Week 2018, a collaboration of over 30 organisations with events exploring investment into Europe’s sustainable growth.

Invest Europe is the association representing European private equity and venture capital, and their global investors. It commissioned ComRes, the independent research consultancy, to survey 360 investment decision makers at companies from the USA, China, Germany, the UK and France in October 2018. The full report is free to download from Invest Europe’s website,

Media enquiries For more information please contact

Eric Drosin Image

Eric Drosin


Communication Director


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