A report by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, showed the region had the 14th highest gross domestic product per capita in Europe.
The North-east’s GDP per head in 2009 amounted to 158 per cent of the EU average. The UK, as a whole, was the tenth wealthiest EU member state, with an overall GDP of 110.7 per cent.
Scotland would notionally be the 12th wealthiest area in the EU if it was counted among the current 27 member states, with an overall GDP of 107.9 per cent.
However, the report does not make clear how UK GDP would be affected if Scotland was removed, as would happen under independence.
Inner London was the wealthiest region, with a GDP at 332 per cent of the EU average.