The Financial Times Group recognizes Catalonia as the best Southern European region for foreign investment

Regner® Editorial Team

Aiguaviva -



The recognition takes into account economic potential,
labor environment, cost-effectiveness, infrastructure, and business friendliness.

The Financial Times—one of the most important publications on business and economy in the world and an indispensable guide for market movements and international investment—has put Catalonia at the top of their list of the best places for foreign investment  in Southern Europe for the years 2018 and 2019. The FDI Strategy award, based on a biennial study published in revista FDI,is considered to be  one of the mosts prestigious rankings worldwide.

FDI Intelligence, a division of the Financial Times, collected information on 300 cities and 150 regions in five areas:

– Economic potential

– Labor environment

– Cost-effectiveness

– Business friendliness.

– Infrastructure

Taking into account these indicators, the ranking determines that the five most attractive regions of Southern Europe in 2018 and 2019 in terms of foreign investment attraction are Catalonia, Madrid, Lombardy, Istanbul and Lisbon.

1. Catalonia
2. Madrid
3. Lombardy
4. Istanbul
5. Lisbon

Agricultural Technology Research Institute in Caldes de Montbui (Catalonia)

Attracting foreign investment

‘This recognition shows that Catalonia has the assets, potential, and determination to consolidate itself as one of the most attractive regions in Europe in terms of attracting foreign investment‘tated Joan Aregio, Secretary of Enterprise and Competitiveness. He added that ‘it is the second consecutive time that Catalonia receives this recognition, a very clear indicator of the confidence we generate abroad’.

Buildings of the biomedical research center in Barcelona (Catalonia)

An innovation hub

Catalonia ‘has a privileged geostrategic position, a solid industrial base, an economy that is open to the world and is highly innovative’, and is also ‘one of the most dynamic start-up communities’, according to the Secretary of Enterprise and Competitiveness.

In fact, the recent‘Startup Ecosystem Overview’ suggests that Barcelona’s is the main start-up hubin Spain, with 34% of its most innovative companies.. Using figures from 2017, the report shows that the Catalan start-up ecosystem attracts some 58% of all foreign investment in Spain, making Barcelona the fifth European city among innovative ecosystems, ahead of Madrid, which comes in sixth place.

Street view with modern tram in Badalona city (Catalonia)

The best foreign investment attraction strategy

Apart from recognizing Catalonia as the most attractive region in Southern Europe in terms of foreign investment in 2018 and 2019, the publication also rewards Catalonia for having the best strategy to attract foreign investment among large regions—that is, regions that exceed 4 million inhabitants Such a strategy is promoted by the Catalan Government through Catalonia Trade & Investment, a public agency created in 1985 and working from its headquarters in Barcelona along with the Government’s network of 40 Trade & Investment Offices around the world.

The main goal of this strategy is to attract new productive investments to Catalonia as well as strengthening the reinvestment and long-term establishment of foreign companies already established in Catalonia. To this end, Catalonia Trade & Investment offers customized services in the landing phase such as the search for partners, personnel, legal advice, warehouses, land, and offices, to name a few.

The agency’s strategy for attracting foreign investment considers three factors:

– Main investing countries

– Globally recognized companies and leaders in their fields

– Strategic projects that are economic motors and have a real impact on stable and quality employment.

This translates in the promotion of projects with a heavy emphasis on the industrial, R&D and logistics fields in strategic sectors such as future vehicles, health, Industry 4.0 and mobile technologies.

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