Summary: Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities published "The Economic Accounts of the European Union 1997" on December 8. The 180-page document reviews and analyses in a single volume a range of macro-economic data for the EU and the Member States. Alongside economic considerations, the report outlines structural differences between the Member States, allowing an economic profile of the EU to be drawn, and comparing it, where possible, with its main trading partners. The publication also contains an analysis of economic accounts in the candidate countries.

The report compares levels of savings between EU Member States. In 1996, Italian households saved the equivalent of ECU 2,710 per person, 50% more than the EU average of ECU 1,808. Belgium ranked second with ECU 2,438 (35% more than the Community average), just ahead of the Netherlands with ECU 2,256, 25% above average. At the other extreme, Denmark recorded the lowest figure of household savings, ECU 701, 61% below the Community average, preceded by Spain with ECU993, 45% below average. Sweden and Finland also registered low figures, nearly 40% below the Community average. In the Euro zone (all the Member States except for the United Kingdom, Greece, Sweden and Denmark), savings per person were 8% above the Community average. The report indicates that "since 1990, Italy and the Netherlands have lost some ground on the European average (in 1990, Italians saved 85% above the...

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