Having been in Europe for the past week or so, or specifically in Belgium I haven’t noticed a huge impact on consumer behaviour versus the last year or any other period that I have come here annually. Instead the majority of issues that I hear stem from the likelihood of increased taxes from the government (mind you people here already pay just over 50% income tax), stricter rules and regulations regarding businesses, and what is scary is that 56% of GNP here (according to De Staandard) comes from the public sector! People still of course want to keep the Euro, western Europe seem fed up that Southern Europe needs to be bailed out constantly and that they have to pay for that cost, major manufacturing companies are shifting away slowly and parents are worried about their children’s future as they worry about job potentials. So all in all its not as gloomy as SE Asia was in 1997-1998 but things are far from rosy.

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