A new article has been published by the Brussels Studies, focusing on the advanced services and attractiveness of Brussels region. Based on the analysis of the dynamics of advanced services in Brussels economy, which account for more than a third of the total added value in Brussels-Capital Region (BCR), the article looks at the necessity for international attractiveness which accompanies the development of these services. Three reflections are developed in this framework. Firstly, given the international nature of the Brussels economy, the need as well as the possibility to strengthen the international economy linked to advanced services are examined. Next, the competition between the centre and the outskirts in the area of advanced services is examined. Finally, a critical analysis of the social impact of this economy is carried out, highlighting in particular the fact that these activities create few jobs.
The article explores the production and impact of advanced services in the Brussels economy. Based on a four-year study funded by Innoviris on advanced services in Brussels, this article aims to address three main objectives.
Firstly, it provides a portrait of advanced services in Brussels and their spatial dynamics (1995-2014). This question is particularly relevant in times of geopolitical and geo-economic instability. During the period studied, the financial crisis and the austerity policies which followed favoured low interest rates and resulted in low investment opportunities in the economy. It was also during this period that “systemic” banks were rescued or taken over by international groups. Since 2008, the economic conditions in which advanced services operate, in Brussels and elsewhere, have therefore undergone an extensive transformation. In addition, the advanced service sectors (finance, accounting, legal services, consulting, etc.) have undergone major technological changes (digitisation, automation, etc.) and spatial changes, causing a decrease or a transformation or transfer of jobs at different levels. Furthermore, there have been major geopolitical changes recently, such as Brexit. Secondly, based on the idea that the emergence of global cities is linked to the socio-spatial polarisation of cities [Friedmann, 1986; Sassen, 1991], the authors analyse the economic and social impact of this economy on the economic and social fabric of Brussels. Thirdly, on the basis of these observations, the article aims to propose a reflection on the possibilities for action by the political authorities, in particular by the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR).
Authors of this study are Gilles Van Hamme, Maëlys Waiengnier, David Bassens and Reijer Hendrikse.
To read the full article, visit Advanced services: the attractiveness of Brussels and local issues