The novelty of the 2016 edition is the interactive web tool, which allows for a more detailed analysis and comparison of each region, either with its peers in terms of GDP per capita or with all EU regions. Users may now see more easily how their region scores in terms of innovation, governance, transport, digital infrastructure, health or human capital. The tool is also designed to help regions identify their strengths, their weaknesses and investment priorities when shaping their development strategies.
Overall, the 2016 results are in line with those for 2013. Once again, a polycentric pattern can be observed with strong capital and metropolitan areas as the main drivers of competitiveness. Spill over effects can be seen in most of north-western Europe, but this is much less obvious in the EU regions to the east and south. High levels of within-country variation are observed in many cases which are caused by a clearly outperforming capital region compared to the other regions in the country.
Compared to the two previous editions, published in 2010 and 2013, Malta and several regions in France, Germany, Sweden, Portugal and the UK improved their score, while the scores declined in Cyprus and regions in Greece, Ireland and, more recently in the Netherlands. In eastern EU regions, competitiveness has mostly remained stable.