This introductory chapter considers what constitutes an European business. It explores the environment within which it operates examining economic, political, legal, cultural and other factors which determine this environment. The importance of international trade to the European business is identified and the theories underpinning it are discussed. The map of Europe has undergone substantial changes since the late 1980s. These are examined and related to the economic groupings which exist within Europe as a whole. The economic performance of different European Union countries is reviewed and compared with that of the EU’s main competitors, the US and Japan.
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