Europe is on track for a comeback, according to a 2015 Europe attractiveness survey by professional services firm EY. The report’s figures reveal cautious confidence on the part of investors – while global FDI slowed by 8% in 2014, Europe attracted 4341 FDI projects, up 10% from the previous year, and 185,583 jobs, up 12%.

“Europe attracted $305bn of footloose investment funding, up 36% from 2013,” the report indicates, now in its 13th year. Of the investors surveyed, 59% believe Europe’s attractiveness will continue to improve over the next three years. Drivers behind these positive changes include a weakened euro, lower oil prices and quantitative easing, which are forecast to trigger further growth and investment. Sectors leading the way for investment opportunities include IT, renewable energy and healthcare, especially as the region’s population ages.   

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The UK, Germany and France remain Europe’s top destination countries for FDI, attracting 52% of FDI projects and 30% of jobs created in 2014. “The UK, with 887 projects and 31,198 jobs, retains a strong lead, but France, with 608 projects, has closed a little on Germany (763 projects),” said the report. Meanwhile, “central and eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey attracted 96,087 FDI jobs (52% of Europe’s total), outpacing western Europe,” the report revealed.

Industrial sectors also saw a rebound in 2014. Manufacturing and logistics projects saw 20% and 27% increases, respectively, significantly boosting the automotive, food, and machinery and equipment sectors.

Deterrents to investment remain, including excessive bureaucracy and slow economic growth, as well as deficits and geopolitical risk in the region’s east. However, the new industries luring investors and driven by digital, healthcare, media and energy trends appear a promising source of FDI. They are projects that require long-term commitment, but according to the survey, investors in these fields appear willing to stay in Europe for the long haul.

EY’s attractiveness surveys aim to provide insight into FDI trends and regional investment climates based on projects and jobs created, as well as the views of more than 800 international and local business professionals, opinion leaders and decision-makers.