(Bloomberg) -- A majority of chief executives in an influential group of European businesses said they’re planning to increase their presence in North America amid growing concerns about Europe’s loss of competitiveness. 

Some 57% of company chiefs of European multinationals are eying shifting investments or operations — or both — across the Atlantic over the next two years, according to a survey conducted by the European Round Table of Industrialists and the Conference Board to be published on Tuesday and seen by Bloomberg. 

A large majority of respondents — more than 80% —  said they believe Europe is losing competitiveness as a base for industry, as the continent reels from geopolitical risks, inflation and energy costs, along with skills shortages and supply-chain disruptions.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine worsened a difficult environment for companies in Europe, marked by lower productivity growth and crises. More than two-thirds of respondents considered the impact of current geopolitical tensions on their company’s business outlook as either somewhat negative or negative.

“Europe’s efforts to restore its competitiveness are more challenged than ever due to an unstable geopolitical environment, elevated energy prices compared to pre-2019 levels, rising inflation, tighter financing conditions, and record-high input costs,” the study reads.

European CEOs are mildly positive about the current economic situation after a negative sentiment in the second half of last year, but only a quarter remain optimistic about the next six months.

The ERT brings together around 60 company heads of leading European multinationals. A total of 56 chief executives in the ERT responded during April to the CEO Confidence Survey for Europe, which is carried out with the Conference Board, a business research group. 

“The findings are clear and urgent evidence that Europe’s future as a leading base for industry remains at risk,” said Martin Brudermüller, chief executive officer of BASF SE and chairman of the ERT’s competitiveness committee. “Geopolitical tensions are having huge repercussions — and we in Europe are in the middle of this.”

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