Public Debt: In Austria the debt of the public sector (state, provinces, municipalities, social insurance authorities, public funds) amounted to ATS 1,619 billion at the end of 1997, with 90 % of the amount accounting for liabilities of the state. The funding of the public debt is effected primarily through bonds and bank loans. The creditors are mostly Austrian, Austria´s foreign debt came to around 21 % in 1997, its public debt is close to the international average. Among the 15 member states of the European Union, public debt ratios, i.e. the public debt as compared with economic performance, ranged from 6.7 % (Luxembourg) to 122.2 % (Belgium) in 1997, Austria holding rank 8 with 66.1 %.