Press release

2 May 2024 Dublin, IE

Ireland ranked 11th for Foreign Direct Investment as Europe loses FDI momentum

Dublin, 02 May 2024: Ireland attracted 100 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2023, placing it 11th on the European league table of the most attractive investment destinations, down from 10th place in 2022.

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EY Ireland, a leading global professional services organisation providing assurance, tax, audit, strategy and transactions and consulting services.

  • Ireland places 11th in Europe for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2023
  • Dublin ranked 7th most attractive European city for FDI investment over next 3 years
  • France continued to lead in Europe for FDI projects, with UK second (only country in top 3 to see project numbers grow) and Germany ranked third
  • Total FDI projects in Europe were down 4% on 2022
  • 72% of businesses said they plan to establish or expand operations in Europe over the next year

Dublin, 2 May 2024: Ireland attracted 100 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2023, placing it 11th on the European league table of the most attractive investment destinations, down from 10th place in 2022. The latest EY European Attractiveness Survey, published today, further reports that Dublin ranks 7th in Europe in terms of best city for attracting FDI over the coming 3 years (behind London, Paris, Zurich, Munich, Barcelona and Frankfurt).

Slow economic growth, high inflation, energy-related challenges and a volatile geopolitical environment has caused the first downturn in European FDI since 2020. Europe as a whole experienced a 4% year-on-year decline with a total of 5,694 projects recorded in 2023. This was the continent’s lowest FDI total since 2020 and was 11% lower than its pre-pandemic level (6,412) and 14% lower than 2017 (6,653). 2017 represented Europe’s peak for projects in the last decade.

France was Europe’s largest recipient of inward investment, recording 1,194 projects in 2023 while Germany recorded 733 projects in 2023 – both countries were down when compared to their 2022 figures. The UK saw a rebound in FDI after a period of market instability. FDI projects increased in 2023 to 985 with London retaining the top spot among Europe’s major capitals.

Speaking today Feargal de Freine, Assurance Partner at EY Ireland said: “Europe’s loss of FDI momentum in 2023 is disappointing, with Ireland’s performance reflective of this wider trend. Despite an exceptionally challenging external environment we did, however, only slip one place in the annual ranking of countries and notably Dublin features among the top 10 cities in terms of future attractiveness to investors.

“Our economy has historically relied heavily on FDI from the US in particular (60% of the FDI projects into Ireland in 2023 originated in the US compared with approximately 20% across Europe – a ratio that has been consistent over recent years) and especially in the areas of technology and global business services, two sectors that were the subject of significant adjustment globally last year.

“Looking ahead there are some signs that recovery is on the horizon for Europe. A large proportion (72%) of surveyed executives say their organisation plans to expand or establish operations in Europe over the next 12 months, up from 67% last year. Similarly, the research finds that investors are positive about Ireland’s medium-term attractiveness. It will be important that we remain focused and work hard to ensure that our economy is future proofed in a world that is changing at breathtaking speed.”

EY Ireland will publish a more detailed analysis of global investor sentiment towards Ireland and Europe next month.

Media Contact: Barry Dunning, Head of External Communications at EY Ireland on 083 167 4871 |


About the EY Europe Attractiveness Survey 2024

EY’s annual Attractiveness Surveys analyse the attractiveness of a particular region or country as an investment destination. The surveys are designed to help businesses make investment decisions and governments remove barriers to growth. A two-step methodology analyses both the reality and perception of FDI in the country or region. For this 23rd edition of the Europe Attractiveness Survey, we again draw on two sources:

  • Our evaluation of FDI in Europe is based on the EY European Investment Monitor (EIM). This EY proprietary database enables us to track projects announced in 2023 across 44 countries.
  • We explore Europe’s perceived attractiveness via an online survey of international decision-makers. Field research was conducted by Longitude in February and March 2024 based on a representative panel of 500 respondents.

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