As of the end of the third quarter of 2019, while Greece had the highest debt level among European Union member states, Estonia remained the EU member state with the lowest level of government debt, it appears from data published by Eurostat on Wednesday.
The lowest government debt to GDP ratios at the end of the third quarter of last year were recorded in Estonia at 9.2 percent, Luxembourg at 20.2 percent, and Bulgaria at 20.6 percent.
The highest ratios, meanwhile, were recorded in Greece at 178.2 percent, Italy at 137.3 percent, Portugal at 120.5 percent, Belgium at 102.3 percent, and France at 100.5 percent.
The government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA19) stood at 86.1 percent, down from 86.4 percent on quarter. In the EU28, the ratio decreased from 80.4 to 80.1 percent. On year, the government debt to GDP ratio fell in both the euro area — from 87.1 percent to 86.1 percent — and the EU28 — from 81.4 percent to 80.1 percent.
Compared with the second quarter of 2019, four member states registered an increase and 23 members a decrease in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the third quarter; the ratio remained stable in Germany. Increases were recorded in Romania at 1.4, France at 0.9, Slovenia at 0.4, and Bulgaria at 0.2 percentage points. The largest decreases, meanwhile, were recorded in Cyprus at 9.2, Malta at 2.3, the Netherlands at 1.7 and Finland at 1.5 percentage points.
Estonia's government debt to GDP ratio increased by 0.7 percentage points on quarter.
General government surplus above EU average
While a deficit was registered for the EU as a whole, Estonia's seasonally adjusted general government surplus in the third quarter of 2019 equaled 0.4 percent of GDP.
The biggest general government deficit to GDP ratios were registered in Romania at 4.9 and France at 2.5 percent. The biggest surpluses, meanwhile, were registered in Bulgaria at 2.4 and Denmark at 2.3 percent.
The seasonally adjusted general government deficit to GDP ratio stood at 0.7 percent in the euro area, remaining steady on quarter. In the EU28, the deficit to GDP ratio stood at 0.9 percent, likewise remaining steady on quarter.
Estonia's surplus shrank by 0.1 percentage points in the same period.
Editor: Aili Vahtla