Debt mainly held by resident financial sector in more than half of the EU Member States

  • Structure of government debt at the end of 2019
  • Long-term initial maturities largely prevail across Member States

Significant differences can be observed across the European Union (EU) regarding the sector in which government debt  is  held. 

Among  Member  States  for  which  data  are  available,  the  share  of government debt  held  by the (resident)financial corporationssector at  the  end  of 2019 was  highest  in Denmark (74 %),  followed  by Sweden(73 %), Croatia (67 %)  and Italy (63 %).  In  contrast,  the  largest  proportion  of  debt  held  by non-residentswas recorded in Cyprus (80 %), ahead of Lithuania (76 %), Latvia (74 %) and Estonia (70 %).Generally,across  the  EU,  less  than  10 %  of  debt  was  held  by  the  resident  non-financial  sectors (non-financial corporations,  households  and  non-profit  institutions  serving  households),  with  the  noticeable  exceptions  of Hungary (28 %), Malta (26 %), Portugal (15 %) and Ireland (11 %).

This  information  comes  from  a publication released  by  Eurostat,  the  statistical  office  of  the  EuropeanUnion, covering  detailed  information  on  general  governmentdebt  in  the  EU  Member  States  broken  down  by  subsector, financial  instrument,  debt  holder,  maturity,  currency  of  issuance  as  well  as  government  guarantees  and  other features. A small selection of data is covered in this news release.

Highest shares of short-term initial maturity in Sweden, Portugaland Italy. With 21 %  of  total  government  debt  having  a  term  below  one  year, Swedenregistered  the  highest  proportion  of short-term initial maturities of debt among the Member Statesat the end of2019, ahead of Portugal (18 %), Italy (15 %), HungaryandDenmark (both 11 %).  At  the  opposite  end  of  the  scale, almost all  of  the debt (more  than 98 %) was made up of long-term maturities in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Czechia.

General government gross debt mainly financed by debt securities in most Member States. At the end of 2019, debt securities were the main financial instrument in almost all Member States. Czechia (92 % of total general government debt), recorded the highest percentage,a headof Hungary, Slovenia and Spain(all 87 %), Malta and France(both 86 %). In contrast,loans largely prevailed in Estonia (88 %) andGreece (81 %). The use  of loans  was  also relatively high in Cyprus (41 %),Sweden (33 %), Croatia(29 %), Luxembourg (28 %)  and Portugal (27 %). Currency  and  deposits generally  made  up  a  relatively  small  share  of  debt, except  in Portugal (13 %), Ireland (11 %)and Italy (9 %)