As I am exiting Europe for new adventures 'down under', this is my last View from Europe column. Looking back over the past 11 years of commentary, it strikes me that Europe has always had something interesting to talk about.

I suppose this is no surprise, as the continent encompasses 44 countries and is the world’s largest single market for business. It is also the leading global location for both FDI inflows and outflows. Most importantly, thanks to the existence of the EU, it acts proactively and collaboratively in so many ways.


The growth and leading status of different tech sectors has been a much-reported feature as industries have been disrupted and reshaped across the continent. Fintech, cleantech, medtech and proptech are just a few such examples. A wide variety of EU initiatives to support economic growth and facilitate crossborder business have also been profiled. Many have focused on reducing trade barriers, increasing transparency and strengthening stability of regulations – improving certainty and lowering risks for investors.  

Politicians and bureaucrats have had to deal with turbulent economic and social times, and performance on this has been mixed. The whole story around the UK's decision to leave the EU has been a horror, and I hope it has a positive conclusion for all. From the perspective of FDI, staying in the single market is a no-brainer; leaving it will seriously dent the UK's number one FDI position in Europe.  

Looking to the future for Europe, I would like to see politicians and their advisers augmented with artificial intelligence, and ensure that they listen more to business people. Through technology, Europe’s cities will get smarter and healthier, and hopefully Europe will continue to lead the world in green policies and actions.

Finally, I hope that this big, diverse continent will continue to be the world’s number one market for FDI, chock-full of interesting stories.         

Douglas Clark is director of Location Connections, consultants for economic development innovation.