Adding a valuable political dimension to the debate were Dominique de Villepin, the suave French Foreign Minister, and his counterpart from Greece, George A. Papandreou. Their contribution to the BusinessWeek conference signals that the recent turmoil in transatlantic relations may be beginning to ease. A smoothly functioning U.S.-European relationship, says de Villepin, "is at the heart of the stability of our world today."FUTURE HOT BUTTONS. One message was loud and clear at the BW forum, chaired by BusinessWeek European Regional Editor John Rossant: The big challenge for both the U.S. and Europe in coming years will be the relationships both forge with an increasingly assertive China and a rising high-tech India. Despite headline-grabbing trade tensions between the U.S. and the EU now and then, the $2.3 trillion transatlantic economic bond is essentially in good shape. China, though, is becoming a hot-button trade issue in the U.S., and India, which is taking many American service jobs, could be the next target. Europeans have yet to address the challenge posed by Asia, says Rossant.
Still, 2004 ought to ring in good cheer for investors. At the Forum, Morgan Stanley European investment banking head Michael Zaoui and Patrick Sayer, CEO of Paris-based investment group Eurazeo, both predicted an uptick in dealmaking next year. David Fairlamb, BusinessWeek's European economics correspondent, agrees: "The big action in Europe in 2004 is corporate restructuring, and that's good news for the economy and good news for capital markets."
And welcome news for Europe. By Bob Dowling, Managing Editor, International