§ Viscount Brentford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many European Union Member States would currently qualify for European Monetary Union based on the criterion for debt as a percentage of GNP; and
What is the comparison between the United Kingdom's debt as a percentage of GNP and that of the other major European Union member states including Germany and France.
§ Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish
The question of which countries fulfil the necessary conditions for adoption of the single currency will be decided by the Council, meeting in the form of Heads of State of Government, in accordance with Article 109j of the EC treaty. The latest Commission Spring forecast and the UK Summer economic forecast provide comparable information on the current and projected debt of each member state.
Debt (percentage of GDP) 1995 1997 UK1 54.5 56.0 Belgium 133.7 130.6 Denmark 71.9 68.7 Germany 58.1 62.4 Greece 111.5 111.4
Debt (percentage of GDP) 1995 1997 Spain 65.7 68.0 France 52.4 57.8 Ireland 85.5 77.3 Italy 124.8 122.8 Luxembourg 5.9 6.8 Netherlands 79.0 78.7 Austria 69.4 73.9 Portugal 71.6 71.8 Finland 59.4 63.2 Sweden 79.9 79.6 Source: UK: Summer Economic Forecast 1996. Non UK: Commission Services Spring 1996 Economic Forecast. 1UK figures are for financial years 1995/96 and 1997/98.