The business community also has its own organisational capacity to enhance the business climate

Frank van Oort, Professor of regional and urban economics at Erasmus School of Economics
Erasmus School of Economics

The chairman of VNO-NCW (a Dutch employers' federation), Ingrid Thijssen, recently claimed that the Dutch business climate is deteriorating, and the government must intervene immediately. Walter Manshanden and Frank van Oort, Professor of Urban and Regional Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, advocate that VNO-NCW should put its own house in order rather than pointing at the government in FD (14 July 2022).

DG Regio

The competitiveness of our cities and regions depends on many factors. The Regional Competitiveness Index of the European Commission's department for regional and urban policy (DG Regio) distinguishes as many as 75 variables that count. According to the authors, Dutch regions are in fact doing well: almost all Dutch regions are in the top spot in the 2019 survey. Globally, the Netherlands is sixth, according to the World Economic Forum.

Businesses are also responsible 

Manshanden and van Oort question whether current social issues, such as mismatches in the labour market, should immediately be solved by 'the' government. They reason that the government is responsible for parts of the business climate, but the business community itself also has organisational responsibility. Entrepreneurship, market opportunities and innovation must mainly come from the private sector. Companies can pay higher wages, provide better training, cooperate with intermediate vocational education and offer permanent contracts.

Furthermore, they advocate society to think about more fundamental questions: We must ask ourselves which companies we actually want from abroad. Is there room for it, do we have the right labour supply? What purpose does it serve?  Who will benefit from this? Are tax breaks necessary?

Finally, the Professor and Manshanden motivate VNO-NCW to take up their key role in contributing, together with the social partners, to political stability, a level playing field, good education and liveable, green cities and regions. Then the attractiveness for foreign countries will increase as well. 

More information

For the whole item by FD, July 14 2022, click here (in Dutch).

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