European economic growth since the millennium has been highly cyclical. Both countries and cities showed similar levels of growth in the lead up to the global financial crisis, at an average of 25% and 28% respectively, followed by an average of -4% in the following recession. The big difference has been in the recovery. Cities have led this.
On average, GDP in European cities has grown by 21% since the end of the latest recession compared with 15% in the countries in which they sit. The biggest risers have been Dublin, where city GDP is up 87% since 2009, Warsaw up 34% since 2008, London 27% and Amsterdam, 21%. A few cities, Moscow, Frankfurt and Brussels have underperformed their host countries.