The Euro-Zone: The NS Guide to the Vital Statistics
Grant, Will, Framer, Jon, New Statesman (1996)
The euro, which was introduced on 1 January (at an exchange rate of 61.07p), is intended to consolidate the European Union as the world's second economic superpower, rivalling the United States in both size and influence: a population of nearly 300 million in a single market accounting for 18.6% of trade worldwide and 19.4% of GDP. It has been launched with a great fanfare of ... sluggish domestic demand, a downturn in external demand, high unemployment, global economic slowdown and recession-in short, a deteriorating economic climate. So how is the euro-zone coping? How is the euro perceived from within?
UK figures (for comparison) GDP annual growth rate: 2.1% Inflation: 1.8% Unemployment: 5.1% Public spending (as % of GNP): 42% The UK interest rate is 4% against the European Central Bank's 3.25%
Graphic: Art House Technical
Ireland Belgium GDP annual growth rate: 6.1% 0.9% Inflation: 5.5% 1.8% Unemployment: 3.7% 10.8% Public Spending: 35.4% of GNP 45.6% of GNP Description: "Think euro-the change In a country that has is in your pocket" always considered reads the Irish itself at the heart Information drive, of Europe, the euro currently appearing commands more than 70% everywhere from support. Belgians are billboards to radio. accustomed to monetary Since Ireland joined in union, the mid-1970s, it has having shared a been the economic currency with over the past eight Luxembourg since 1920. years. France Spain GDP annual growth rate: 2.0% 2.9% Inflation: 1.3% 2.8% Unemployment: 8.9% 12.9% Public Spending: 49.9% of GNP 39% of GNP Description: Despite threats of While many mourn the strikes from the loss of the peseta, for banking workforce-who some time in Spain want better wages and there has training to handle the been a general changeover-French resignation to the support for the euro, inevitable. When its at around membership of the euro 60%, is fractionally was announced, Spain greater than the became awash with average for all 15 dinero negro-money European states. hidden from the taximan-as cash was frantically invested in luxury goods and property before E-day, presaging a mini-boom. Portugal Netherlands GDP annual growth rate: 1.8% 0.4% Inflation: 4.1% 4.9% Unemployment: 4.3% 2.0% Public Spending: 42% of GNP 40.4% of GNP Description: Slow economic growth, The country that hosted heralding sharp cuts the negotiations for in public spending, the Maastricht and brought the leadership Amsterdam treaties is of Antonio Guterres and one his minority centreleft of the most Socialist Party enthusiastic government to an abrupt cheerleaders for the end on 16 December. …