Estonia's national debt still lowest in EU, despite rising the most rapidly
Estonia's national debt level remained the lowest in the European Union in the final quarter of 2022, accounting for 18.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), in comparison with an EU average of over 90 percent. Compared with the third quarter of 2022 (Q3 2022), however, it grew faster than that of any other European Union nations.
EU national debt as proportion of GDP at the end of 2022 quick facts (Source: Eurostat)*
- The lowest ratio of national debt to GDP was posted in Estonia, at 18.4 percent, followed by Bulgaria with 22.9 percent and Luxembourg at 24.6 percent.
- The EU average national debt level fell from 85.1 percent to 84 percent.
- This fall is the result of GDP growth in EU nations, Euorstat says.
- The average ratio of national debt to GDP in the eurozone stood at 91.6 percent in Q4 2022, compared with 93 percent in Q3 2022.
- Greece posted highest national debt as a proportion of GDP in Q4 2022, at 171 percent in Greece, followed by Italy (144.4 percent) and Portugal (113.9 percent).
- Compared with Q3 2022, the ratio of national debt to GDP increased in seven member states, with the largest rise again posted in Estonia, at 2.5 percentage points. The next highest rates of rise were posted by the Netherlands (2 percentage points) and Lithuania and Finland (1.1 percentage points each).
- Portugal (5.9 percentage points) and Cyprus (4.8 percentage points) Greece (4.5 percentage points) saw the largest fall in national debt between Q3 2022 and Q4 2022.
- Compared with the picture at the end of 2021, the ratio of national debt to GDP rose the most (at 2.1 percentage points), in the Czech Republic, followed by 0.8 percentage points in Estonia, 0.4 percentage points in Finland and 0.1 percentage points in Luxembourg. In all other EU states, this metric fell.
* National debt is used as a term here for consistency's sake, though public debt, sovereign debt and government debt can be used more or less interchangeably, particularly with and between comparable European nations.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja