Sunrise or Sunset: Is Barcelona on the slide? Featured
For some, the current economic gloom in Europe is a disaster. For others it represents an opportunity.
Companies who want to expand into or across Europe may not find fertile fields of credit or cash-rich customers awaiting them but there is an abundance of commercial property at competitive prices and a lot of available, skilled workers.
Those thinking about seizing the moment may consult the most recent Cushman and Wakefield report on the relative attractiveness of the top 36 European cities. The 22nd survey from the international commercial real estate company is based upon opinions polled from corporations and breaks desirability down into various categories such as each city's reputation, the commercial real estate market, transport links, telecommunications, quality of life, languages and local workforce.
Barcelona is still firmly in the top ten but it has found itself slipping this year to sixth place after dropping two places in two years. During the same period, eternal rival Madrid has moved up to seventh. London came top of the list, followed by Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Berlin.
The Catalan capital was, for the fourteenth consecutive year, rated highest for quality of life. It was also judged to be second only to London for promoting itself as a business centre.
As one of the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) nations that are considered the economically weakest of the Eurozone it is remarkable that Spain still has two cities in the top ten. It is the only country to do so. The economic reputation of the country in the international business press has been less than stellar but it is obviously not a deal-breaker when it comes to relocation decisions.
Credit must go to Barcelona's entrepreneurs and business people as well as to the agencies responsible for promoting Barcelona overseas. Keeping the gloss on the city's reputation during these difficult times is a herculean task and one which requires constant effort.
The image of Barcelona as a place where the work-life relationship is seen to be balanced seems to be key to the buoyancy of its popularity. Can a city reliant on being percieved as a pleasant place to live survive the strains of cuts, high unemployment and possible social unrest? And is its slip down the rankings a sign of decline or a blip caused by circumstances? What needs to be done to keep Barcelona relevant as an international centre for business?
Let us know what you think...