Europe at a glance

The European Union (EU) currently has 28 member states but Europe as a continent has more countries that are not members of EU.

Within EU some countries use the euro as their currency whereas others use their national currency. Some countries have more than one official language. There are regions with highly developed trade activities that are cross-border and there are clusters with considerable grants for supporting research and development. There are clusters for mature or emerging companies, startups, or business incubators in various different industries.

European countries and regions have a wide range of clusters. Some of them started cluster policies long ago – Catalonia and the Basque Country in Spain, Veneto in Italy, Scotland in the UK, Sophia Antipolis in France, Denmark, the Netherlands. Others have started within the last few years – a number of Austrian regions, the Czech Republic, the UK. Others further developed them through national initiatives – France, Germany, Sweden and Finland. The number of cluster policies and programs within Europe are now among the most active regions in the world.

BELGIUM – EU capital of Brussels, central location, highly developed transport network, metallurgy and steel production, large scale companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, world’s largest brewer and telecom Proximus Group HQ, 10 million population.

SWEDEN – Part of Scandinavia and Nordics, export focused economy with traditional products like timber, hydropower, iron ore as well as IT high-tech industry, healthcare, digitalisation, AI, IoT, famous companies IKEA, H&M, Spotify, 10 million population.

FINLAND – Part of Nordics, Country of Santa Claus and Nokia, timber and high tech gaming, machinery, vehicles and other engineered metal products, forest industry and chemicals, home venue of tech conference SLUSH, 5.5 million population.

SWITZERLAND – Not an EU member state, central location, pharmaceutical, watches, finance, insurance, food and tourism industries, Nestle and Zurich insurance group, Credit Swiss, 8.5 million population.

THE NETHERLANDS – Transportation hub, Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Rotterdam port, largest in Europe. Home to energy, chemical, machinery, metallurgy, electrical good, tulip fields, food and agriculture, environmental solutions, 17 million population.

GERMANY – Largest economy of Europe, developed infrastructure, service sector, tourism, banking, automotive, machinery, chemical, 83 million population.

UK – Second largest economy in Europe, service sector, financial hub, tourism, energy, mining, manufacturing, and construction, 66 million population.

FRANCE – Banking, luxury retail, food and wine, chemical, tourism, 84 million visitors, eg Airbus, L’Oreal and Veolia, 67 million population.

SPAIN – Tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, food, energy, electricity, 47 million population.

ITALY – Apparel and textile exporter, luxury retail, food and wine, Fiat, Geox, Armani HQ, 60 million population.

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