This chapter explores what is meant by the term European business and what constitutes the environment in which it currently operates. This includes an analysis of the economic, political, legal, cultural and other factors which determine this environment. The recent economic performance of different European Union countries is reviewed and compared with that of the EU’s main competitors, the US and Japan, to determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of the EU as it moves to a single currency. Finally, international organisations which have a major influence on EU countries are examined. This covers bodies such as the IMF, the World Bank, G8 and the World Trade Organisation. The financial crisis of the Southeast Asian economies, and its impact on the EU, is examined as a case study.
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