The Netherlands meets EMU budget targets in 2006

The Dutch EMU surplus over 2006 is 3.0 billion euro, corresponding to 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). For the first time in six years, there is a budget surplus.

Small surplus for the Netherlands

The EMU deficit of the 27 countries of the European Union was -1.7 percent of the GDP, as against -2.4 percent in 2005. Sixteen member states registered a deficit in 2006; eleven member states reported a surplus over 2006. Denmark had the most substantial EMU surplus (4.2 percent); Hungary had the highest deficit (-9.2 percent). The Netherlands recorded a 0.6 percent EMU surplus. As in previous years, this is far above the average of the EU-27 (deficit norm -3 percent).

EMU budget (deficit limit 3 procent)

EMU budget (deficit limit 3 procent)

Debt-to-GDP ratio down

The Dutch debt-to-GDP ratio dropped from 52.7 percent in 2005 to 48.7 percent in 2006. For the first time since 1980, the debt-to-GDP ratio is below 50 percent. The debt-to-GDP ratio of all 27 EU countries is 61.7 percent, 1.2 percentage points lower than in 2005. The overall debt of the European countries still exceeds the 60 percent deficit limit.

Ten member states exceed the public debt limit imposed by the EMU. Italy (106.8) and Greece (104.6) have a public debt exceeding their GDPs. Belgium (89.1), Germany (67.9), Malta (66.5), Hungary (66.0), Cyprus (65.3), Portugal (64.7), France (63.9) and Austria (62.2) have a public debt above the 60 percent limit.

EMU debt (debt limit 60 percent)

EMU debt (debt limit 60 percent)

Fifteen countries comply with both EMU criteria

Fifteen among the 27 EU member states comply with both EMU criteria: an EMU deficit below 3 percent and an EMU debt below 60 percent. This group of countries also includes Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the European Union on 1 January 2007. Italy, Portugal and Hungary failed to meet either of the above criteria.

Marga Hüttner and Dennis van Gessel