At the end of the second quarter of 2021, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area stood at 98.3 %, compared with 100.0 % at the end of the first quarter of 2021. In the EU, the ratio also decreased from 92.4 % to 90.9 %. Both for the Euro Area and EU, the decrease in government debt to GDP ratio at the end of the second quarter was due to the rebound in GDP, while debt continued to increase due to the financing needs of the policy measures adopted to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Compared with the second quarter of 2020, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 94.4 % to 98.3 %) and the EU (from 87.2 % to 90.9 %).
At the end of the second quarter of 2021, debt securities accounted for 82.7 % of euro area and for 82.4 % of EU general government debt. Loans made up 14.1 % and 14.5 % respectively and currency and deposits represented 3.2 % of euro area and 3.0 % of EU government debt. Due to the involvement of EU Member States’ governments in financial assistance to certain Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) are also published. The share of IGL as percentage of GDP at the end of the second quarter of 2021 accounted for 1.9 % in the Euro Area and to 1.6 % in the EU.
Government debt at the end of the second quarter 2021 by Member State
The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the second quarter of 2021 were recorded in Greece (207.2 %), Italy (156.3 %), Portugal (135.4 %), Spain (122.8 %), France (114.6 %), Belgium (113.7 %) and Cyprus (112.0 %), and the lowest in Estonia (19.6 %), Bulgaria (24.7 %) and Luxembourg (26.2 %).
Compared with the first quarter of 2021, two Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the second quarter of 2021, twenty-three a decrease, while the ratio remained stable in Bulgaria and Estonia. Increases in the ratio were observed in Malta (+2.0 percentage points – pp) and Slovakia (+1.3 pp), while the largest decreases were recorded in Cyprus (-9.4 pp), Slovenia (-5.0 pp), Croatia (-4.0 pp), Portugal (-3.7 pp), Hungary and France (both -3.4 pp), Italy (-3.3 pp) and Belgium (-3.2 pp).
Compared with the second quarter of 2020, twenty-four Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the second quarter of 2021 and three Member States a decrease. The largest increases in the ratio were recorded in Greece (+15.9 pp), Spain (+12.5 pp), Malta (+10.8 pp) and Portugal (+9.1 pp), while decreases were observed in Ireland (-3.1 pp), Denmark (-1.5 pp), and the Netherlands (-0.8 pp).
Euro area (EA19): Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.
European Union (EU27): Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.
Methods and definitions
Quarterly data on government debt are collected from the Member States according to European System of Accounts (ESA 2010), see Annex B, ESA 2010 transmission programme, and refer to the Maastricht debt definition.
The general government debt is defined as the consolidated gross debt of the whole general government sector outstanding at the end of the quarter (at face value). General government debt consists of liabilities of general government in the following financial instruments: currency and deposits (AF.2); debt securities (AF.3) and loans (AF.4), as defined in ESA 2010.
The debt to GDP ratio is calculated for each quarter using the sum of quarterly GDP for the four last quarters. Quarterly data on GDP are the most recent transmitted by the EU Member States. While quarterly debt figures are consistent with annual debt figures at coinciding publications, differences between quarterly and annual GDP figures occur.
For the purpose of proper consolidation of general government debt and to provide users with information, Eurostat publishes data on government loans (IGL) to other EU governments and these loans have been deducted from euro area and EU debt. The concepts and definitions are based on ESA 2010 and on the rules relating to the statistics for the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). The data covered is the stock of loans related to claims on other EU Member States. The valuation basis is the stock of loans at face value outstanding at end of each quarter. From the first quarter of 2011 onwards, the intergovernmental lending figures relate mainly to lending to Greece, Ireland and Portugal and include loans made by the European Financial Stability Facility.
For stock data such as general government debt, end of period exchange rates are used in the compilation of the EU aggregates. For flow data, such as GDP, average exchange rates are used. The EU aggregates, denominated in euro, can fluctuate as a result of exchange rate movements between the euro and other EU currencies.
All quarterly government finance statistics data for the first and second quarter of 2021 have been labelled provisional, due to an increased likelihood of future revisions.
For more information
Eurostat “Statistics Explained” article on quarterly government finance statistics Eurostat database section on quarterly data on government debt by Member State Eurostat decision regarding the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)
Further data are available in the “Presentation on integrated government finance statistics”
ESA 2010: Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 on the European system of national and regional accounts in the European Union Most recent government deficit and debt News Release