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ECONOMY: Cyprus had highest deficit ratio in the EU last year

20 October, 2019

Last year, Cyprus had the EU's highest deficit to GDP ratio (4.4%) while its government debt ratio (100.6%) was the fourth biggest, according to newly updated Eurostat figures.


Only two Member States had deficits equal to or higher than 3% of GDP: Romania (-3.0%) and Cyprus (-4.4%).

Cyprus was burdened by ensuring the state-run Co-op bank didn’t collapse by selling off its good assets and absorbing the fallout.

At the end of 2018, the lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Estonia (8.4%), Luxembourg (21.0%), Bulgaria (22.3%), Czechia (32.6%), Lithuania (34.1%) and Denmark (34.2%).

Some 14 countries had government debt ratios higher than 60% of GDP, with the highest registered in Greece (181.2%), Italy (134.8%), Portugal (122.2%), Cyprus (100.6%), Belgium (100.0%), France (98.4%) and Spain (97.6%).

In 2018, government expenditure in the euro area was equivalent to 47.0% of GDP and government revenue to 46.5%.

The government deficit and debt of both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28 decreased in relative terms compared with 2017.

In the euro area the government deficit to GDP ratio fell from 0.9% in 2017 to 0.5% in 2018, and in the EU28 from 1.0% to 0.7%.

In the euro area the government debt to GDP ratio declined from 87.8% at the end of 2017 to 85.9% at the end of 2018, and in the EU28 from 82.1% to 80.4%.

Luxembourg (+2.7%), Germany and Malta (both +1.9%), Bulgaria (+1.8%), the Netherlands (+1.5%), Czechia (+1.1%), Greece (+1.0%), Denmark, Slovenia and Sweden (all +0.8%), Lithuania (+0.6%), Croatia (+0.3%), Austria (+0.2%) and Ireland (+0.1%) registered a government surplus.

The figures for the EU28 were 45.8% and 45.1% respectively.

In both zones the government expenditure ratio decreased between 2017 and 2018, while the government revenue ratio increased.

Eurostat provided government deficit and debt data for the years 2015-2018 based on figures reported by EU Member States in the second 2019 notification, for the application of the excessive deficit procedure (EDP).