Tickers in this Article: FEZ, EIRL, EWP, EWG, EWN, NORW, NVS, EWL, ABB
As investors have turned their short attention spans towards the Federal Reserve's second round of quantitative easing and possibility of rising inflation, Europe's woes have become second page news. However, problems facing these nations still exist and haven't magically disappeared. Recent concerns with the Irish economy have replaced Greece as the debtor du jour and have the potential to unhinge the already fragile eurozone recovery. Europe still offers some of the largest, most well-known multinationals for portfolios - investors just need to know where to look.

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New Concerns
It's beginning to look like a replay of the European debt crisis. Earlier this summer Greece was on the top of everyone's hit list. Now it's Ireland's turn. After a huge property and asset bust within the nation, Ireland is facing a potential ECB bailout just like the Greeks. Analysts estimate that an Irish bailout would cost around $67 billion and hinder economic growth within the nation. So far, Ireland has resisted any sort of bailout or loan and has undertaken massive austerity plans to curb its budget deficits.

Even though Ireland is in the spotlight, other nations around the continent are still facing headwinds. The OECD issued a statement saying Portugal should reduce its budget deficit or face slow economic growth. Portugal itself has said that its debt problems might lead to the country getting expelled from the eurozone altogether. Greece has mentioned the possibility of extended repayment of its $150 billion bailout and conservative elections in the Hungary, Latvia and the Czech Republic have those nations wanting to want to break off talks with the International Monetary Fund and focus on domestic reforms. Meanwhile, fiscally conservative Germany has stated that it shouldn't be tax payers alone in picking up the tab for these in debt nations. Holders of government bonds should suffer as well.

The Portfolio Play
All of these lingering problems have come to ahead for broad-based Europe exchange-traded funds such as the SPDR EURO STOXX 50 (NYSE:FEZ) have retreated from their highs. Europe still offers some of the world's largest and top companies within their respective sectors. By ignoring investments in the problem nations such as iShares MSCI Ireland (Nasdaq:EIRL) or iShares MSCI Spain (NYSE:EWP) and focusing on the strongest countries, investors can still tap into these opportunities.

A weakened euro has benefitted Germany in spades. The nation's export driven and industrial economy has boomed as its high engineered goods are now cheaper for other nations. A fiscally conservative government has helped the nation avoid many of the same headaches plaguing its neighbors. Investors can add the iShares MSCI Germany Index (NYSE:EWG) which follows follows 51 of the largest German companies and charges 0.55% in expenses. Similarly, another large exporter the Netherlands, has benefitted from the weakened euro and can be played via the iShares MSCI Netherlands (NYSE:EWN).

Norway is often overlooked by investors which is a shame as the nation is the world's fifth-largest oil and third-largest natural gas exporter. Home to some of richest natural resource reserves as well as one of the planets highest standards of living, the nation is benefited from the increased demand for commodities. With the launch of the new Global X FTSE Norway 30 ETF (Nasdaq:NORW), investors now have a way to add one of the most stable commodity economies to a portfolio. (For more on Norway, See BANC Some Inflation Protection with These Nations.)

Finally, with its safe haven currency and home to healthcare giants such as Novartis (NYSE:NVS), Switzerland should be on every investors map. Like Germany, nearly 40% of Switzerland's of gross domestic product is attributed to global exports and the nation currently runs a trade surplus. Betting on the Alps nation is easy with the iShares MSCI Switzerland Index (NYSE:EWL) or one of its many U.S. traded ADRs like ABB (NYSE:ABB).

The Bottom Line
With focus now returning to the European debt crisis, the time maybe here for investors to hone in on the strongest nations within the continent. Germany, Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands all offer a conservative way to play the weakening euro and a boom in exports. These nations allow investors to tap into the European recovery without the major debt worries of their neighbors. (For a related reading, see Why Invest In International Equity Mutual Funds?)

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