Europe is one of our main trading partners, sits right on our doorstep and yet we continue to have a love/hate relationship with it.
The issue of the European Union is still emotive, and one which small business ignores at its peril.
It sets the agenda for most of our lives, and is experienced by many of us as regulation after regulation.
Finally though the penny seems to be dropping that "too much of a good thing" can be bad for your health, and even put you into terminal decline.
The whole idea of a free trading area in which we could all move our goods without too much bureaucracy and paperwork was the idea of the original European Economic Community. However, the EU is a different animal.
For those of us who have been able to establish trading relationships with our European partners it has mostly been a way to grow our businesses.
You do not have to be a large business to do so, indeed many small businesses have had great success, and exporting our goods and services benefits us all, and is what we have been doing successfully for centuries.
However, trying to influence what Brussels does, and engaging with this vast monolith is often like trying to walk through a desert sandstorm.
In order to have influence you need to have understanding and knowledge of the "being" you are attempting to influence in the first place.
Trying to get behind the hype, media reports and the bureaucracy is an arduous task.
A task that we must succeed in if we are to help small businesses and to make those in Brussels understand quite clearly the differences between a small business, with 20 employees or less, and our larger counterparts.
Across the whole of the EU small business accounts for over 99 per cent of all businesses, providing 75 million jobs, and over 80 per cent of employment in individual sectors.
Just as small businesses have to be able to adapt to grow and trade in ever changing conditions, the EU must do the same if it is to avoid stagnation.
Despite the doom and gloom stories that we are losing much of our industry - especially manufacturing - to the East, enterprise and manufacturing is still very much alive, often in the shape of small business.
It is this that could be the engine of the EU economy in the future - just so long as Brussels is at last truly prepared to open its ears and to listen to the voice of small businesses.
* Mike Cherry is West Midlands Policy Unit Chairman for the federation of Small Businesses