Navarra, the fourth most competitive community in the StateSTEPHANIE LECOCQ

The Commonwealth of Madrid is the most attractive Spanish region to live and work in, followed by the Basque Country and Catalonia, according to the 2022 EU Regional Competitiveness Index, which lags behind them Navarre one who classifies as “region in transition”.

The report was presented this Monday by the European Commissioner for Cohesion, Elisa Ferreira, at the Committee of the Regions (CdR).

This indicator, which measures the capacity of each region of the European Union (EU) to “offer an attractive environment where companies and residents can work and live”, places Madrid above the barrier of 100 points (119.3), Euskadi (107, 6) and Catalonia (101.3).

Consequently, they are the only Spanish communities that are part of the group of the “most developed regions of the EU”: Madrid occupies the 32nd position of the classification, with regard to the total of 234 European regions analyzed, while the Basque Country and Catalonia occupy the 77th and 107th places, respectively.

In fact, Madrid, the Basque Country and Catalonia are, together with Lombardy (Italy) and Área Metropolitana de Lisboa (Portugal), the only five regions in the south of the EU that score above the EU average in the Competitiveness Index.

In the ranking of the whole EU, the first most competitive region is the Dutch province of Utrecht, followed by South Holland, where cities like Rotterdam and The Hague are located, while in the third position is the Île-de-France, which is the region of Paris and its metropolitan area.

To prepare this Regional Competitiveness Index, the European Commission took into account indicators such as, for example, the unemployment rate, the market volume of each territory, the number of patent applications made, the functioning of the transport network or the technological development, health and educational development.


Following in the footsteps of Madrid, the Basque Country and Catalonia, this index classifies them as “transitional regions” NavarreValencian Community, Cantabria, Aragon and Asturias, all with scores between 90 and 100.

On the other hand, the remaining autonomous communities are below 90 points, with the cities of Ceuta (62.2 points) and Melilla (69.6) in the last positions, so that the index includes all of them in the category of “less regions developed in the EU”.

In this way, most of nine of the seventeen Spanish autonomies are, in the eyes of Brussels, the least competitive regions of the EU (they are Ceuta and Melilla, followed, in order from least to most, by Extremadura, Canary Islands, Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Region of Murcia, Castilla y León, Balearic Islands and Galicia).


During the presentation of this Competitiveness Index, the European Commissioner for Cohesion, Elisa Ferreira, highlighted the “important internal disparities” that exist between the regions of the same country, especially among the less developed ones.

“It is opportune to remember that the performance of a country depends on all its regions. No team wins when half of the players are still in the locker room, do not enter the field and do not play”, highlighted Ferreira during the presentation of the study at the headquarters of the Committee of European regions.

The commissioner invited the affected Member States to invest in their most deprived territories “adapting policies to their different characteristics and needs”.

Still, Ferreira qualified that this new Index, prepared with last year’s data, “clearly shows that between the 2016 and 2022 editions, regional competitiveness improved in less developed regions”.

With regard to the more developed countries of the EU, such as the Netherlands or Germany, the commissioner underlined that “they have much smaller differences in the performance of their regions” and that they achieve a more homogeneous territorial development.

The statistical analysis carried out based on the Regional Competitiveness Index reflects findings such as, for example, that the degree of labor insertion of women grows as the development of a region increases.

Likewise, in the most competitive regions, young graduates also find work earlier than in the rest of the territories, and in these places the ‘per capita’ GDP is generally higher than in other regions.