Structure of general EU government gross debt – end 2021

Across the EU, there are significant differences in terms of the sector that holds general government gross debt. Among Member States for which data are available, the share of general government debt held by the (resident) financial corporations sector at the end of 2021 was highest in Sweden (74 %), followed by Denmark (73 %), Czechia (67 %), Croatia (65 %), the Netherlands and Italy (both 63 %) and Poland (60 %). In contrast, the largest proportion of debt held by non-residents (rest of the world sector) was recorded in Cyprus (89 %), ahead of Estonia (70 %), Lithuania (65 %) and Latvia (64 %).

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 (25 %), Malta (17 %), Portugal (13 %) and Ireland (10 %).

This information comes from data on general government debt in the EU published by Eurostat on June 15, 2022. The article presents a few findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.

Euro area countries’ central government debt mostly denominated in domestic currency

For 18 euro area Member States, all or almost all (>99 %) of their central government gross debt at face value was denominated in national currency(1): Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Finland, Portugal, Malta, France, Latvia, Spain, Slovakia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Italy, Austria and Greece. Among Euro Area countries, only for Germany more than 1% of the central government gross debt was not denominated in Euro.

Only in 3 EU Member States more than 50% of their central government gross debt was denominated in foreign currency at the end of 2021: Bulgaria (74 %)(2), Croatia (72 %)  and Romania (52 %). These three countries are not part of the Euro rea, and the major share of their foreign currency debt is denominated in euro.

For more information:

Notes on data:
(1) Denominated in national currency: Issued in national currency as well as issued in foreign currency and hedged (using financial derivatives) to national currency.
(2) Bulgaria has a currency board arrangement vis à vis the Euro.