Most of the west European countries are now out of recession, and while still fragile, are ahead of central and east European countries, where growth prospects are muted, apart from the economically robust Poland. A recent RSM International report predicts further economic contraction in 2010 for Hungary, Bulgaria and the Baltic countries.

The downturn has shaken things up and helped accelerate the transfer of economic power to the growth economies of China, India and Brazil. This decade is likely to see much more FDI into Europe from the emerging economies, as they expand their presence in the major markets. Internally, we will see further growth of the eurozone, with impacts on trade and investment within.

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Technology continues to create new growth companies and innovative business models. Cleantech will hopefully move into the mainstream and the online revolution will continue to roll as Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 come upon us. Perhaps biotechnology will finally fulfil its economic promise as it helps address the world’s big challenges. With all the ‘banker bashing’ going on, it will be interesting to see how the financial services sector evolves in Europe. Also, manufacturing development in Europe will remain a key topic for politicians and economic pundits.

Continuing mobility of investment during the recession helped demonstrate that globalisation is here to stay, and companies have been optimising their footprints to address recessionary challenges and opportunities. Significant currency fluctuations, a changing tax landscape and likely shrinking of government spending and financial assistance are some of the factors currently on their radar. Interesting times for the world’s largest economy.

Douglas Clark is director of RSM Tenon Techlocate, a site search and inward investment consultancy, which is part of RSM Tenon Ltd, a top 10 firm of accountants and business advisers.

E-mail: douglas.clark@rsmtenon.com