Navigation and Content

Ahead of the European elections: 14 EU member states rank among the 20 most globalized countries worldwide

06/03/2024, 08:30 AM CEST

These results are revealed in the latest DHL Global Connectedness Report, the most comprehensive available analysis of globalization's state and trajectory.  

European Parliament in Strasbourg (Photo: Marc Dossmann; © European Union)
  • The Netherlands is the European Union's most globalized country, followed by Ireland and Luxembourg, reveals DHL Global Connectedness Report 2024
  • The report, developed at New York University's Stern School of Business, highlights the regional and global ties of EU member states - and how EU principles support international engagement
  • Global connectedness can yield significant benefits such as faster economic growth, lower costs, greater product variety, and more innovation

Bonn, New York - The Netherlands is the most globalized country in the European Union, closely followed by Ireland and Luxembourg. Altogether, an impressive 14 EU members rank among the 20 most globalized countries worldwide, including Malta, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Cyprus, Hungary, Estonia, Finland, Czechia, and Slovenia (see ranking below).

These results are revealed in the latest DHL Global Connectedness Report, the most comprehensive available analysis of globalization's state and trajectory. The report was developed by a team of researchers at the renowned New York University Stern School of Business. The 2024 edition was released in March of this year. It tracks flows of trade, capital, information, and people around the world and measures the globalization of 181 countries and territories.

The 2024 report shows that global flows have proven surprisingly resilient through multiple waves of shocks, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine. Out of the 27 EU member countries, 25 have actually increased their global connectedness since 2017, strongly rebutting the notion that we are in a period of deglobalization. The DHL Global Connectedness Report also highlights how international ties can accelerate economic growth, expand the variety of available goods and services, reduce costs, enhance cultural exchange, and improve the spread of ideas and innovation.

EU membership boosts countries' links to the world

The research further demonstrates how countries' international ties tend to grow substantially when they join the EU. Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia, and Poland are all among the 20 countries with the world's largest increases in global connectedness since 2001. These countries completed their EU accession in 2004.

Such developments are supported by the EU's core principles. The "four freedoms" - guaranteeing the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people among EU member states - play a pivotal role in boosting international exchange. In addition, the EU's Copenhagen Criteria encourage information flows by emphasizing press freedom.

Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Europe, comments, "The DHL Global Connectedness Report clearly shows the benefits of being part of the EU. The EU's commitment to free trade, open markets, and easy movement of talent fosters an excellent environment for companies and economies to thrive internationally. Also, it opens up opportunities for people to exchange, learn, and grow, fostering a culturally rich society. With a strong presence in all 27 EU countries and a unique global network, DHL is the ideal logistics partner to connect people and businesses in Europe and beyond."

Overall ranking of the EU's most globalized countries: Netherlands at the top

The Netherlands' top position in the ranking of the EU's most globalized countries below is based on a unique combination of factors. The country enjoys excellent sea, air, and land transport links, is located near other major economies, boasts an attractive domestic market, and has a long tradition of international openness. In the global ranking, which can be found in the report, the Netherlands is topped only by Singapore.

EU Rank

Country

Score

Global Rank

1

Netherlands

75

2

2

Ireland

74

3

3

Luxembourg

73

4

4

Malta

71

5

5

Belgium

69

7

6

Denmark

67

11

7

Sweden

66

12

8

Germany

64

13

9

Cyprus

64

14

10

Hungary

63

15

11

Estonia

63

16

12

Finland

63

17

13

Czechia

62

18

14

Slovenia

62

19

15

Austria

61

22

16

France

61

23

17

Lithuania

60

27

18

Spain

59

31

19

Portugal

59

32

20

Italy

58

36

21

Bulgaria

58

37

22

Slovakia

58

38

23

Poland

58

40

24

Greece

58

42

25

Latvia

57

46

26

Croatia

56

48

27

Romania

54

55

"Europe is the world's most globally connected region. A major reason for this is that the EU has long fostered closer ties among member countries while also supporting engagement with the rest of the world," says Steven Altman, Senior Research Scholar at NYU Stern's Center for the Future of Management and lead author of the report. "The EU approach exemplifies how regional integration can serve as a building block for globalization."

EU countries stand out on individual globalization measures

The report also sheds light on EU countries excelling in individual measures of globalization. For instance, Germany attracts university students from a wider variety of countries than any other EU member (and ranks 2nd worldwide on this measure). Denmark ranks 1st in the EU (and 3rd globally) on international scientific research collaboration relative to its population size. And Malta tops the EU ranking for tourist arrivals per capita (ranking 2nd globally).

The DHL Global Connectedness Report

Published regularly since 2011, the renowned DHL Global Connectedness Report (previously DHL Global Connectedness Index) provides reliable findings on globalization trends by analyzing 15 types of international trade, capital, information, and people flows. The 2024 edition is based on almost nine million data points. It ranks the connectedness of 181 countries, accounting for 99.7 percent of the world's gross domestic product and 98.7 percent of its population. A collection of 181 one-page country profiles provides concise summaries of individual countries' globalization patterns.

The report was commissioned by DHL and authored by Steven A. Altman and Caroline R. Bastian of New York University Stern School of Business.

Sabine Hartmann

DHL Express

DHL Group
Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 20
53113 Bonn
Germany

NYU Stern

Media Relations

Carolyn Ritter
Phone: +1 212 998 0624
Email: critter@stern.nyu.edu

NYU Stern

Media Relations

Jeffrey Piascik
Phone: +1 212 998 0906
Email: jpiascik@stern.nyu.edu