In 2008, the government deficit and government debt of both the euro area2 (EA16) and the EU27 increased compared with 2007, shows Eurostat. In the euro area the government deficit to GDP ratio increased from 0.6% in 2007 to 1.9% in 2008, and in the EU27 it increased from 0.8% to 2.3%. In the euro area the government debt to GDP ratio increased from 66.0% at the end of 2007 to 69.3% at the end of 2008, and in the EU27 from 58.7% to 61.5%. In 2008 the largest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded by Ireland (-7.1%), the United Kingdom (-5.5%), Romania (-5.4%), Greece (-5.0%), Malta (-4.7%), Latvia (-4.0%), Poland (-3.9%), Spain (-3.8%), France (-3.4%), Hungary (-3.4%), Lithuania (-3.2%) and Estonia (-3.0%). Seven Member States registered a government surplus in 2008, such as Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg.
In all, five Member States recorded an improved government balance relative to GDP in 2008 compared with 2007, 21 a worsening and one remained unchanged. At the end of 2008, the lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Estonia (4.8%), Romania (13.6%), Bulgaria (14.1%), Luxembourg (14.7%) and Lithuania (15.6%). In 2008, government expenditure in the euro area was equivalent to 46.6% of GDP and government revenue to 44.7%. The figures for the EU27 were 46.8% and 44.5% respectively. In both zones, the government expenditure ratio increased between 2007 and 2008, while the government revenue ratio decreased.
EU 27 current account deficit eur 57.3 bln
According to the latest revisions, the EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of 57.3 billion euro in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with a deficit of 21.6 bln in the fourth quarter of 2007 and a deficit of 67.4 bln in the third quarter of 2008.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with the fourth quarter of 2007, the deficits of the goods account and the current transfers account remained nearly stable. The surplus of the services account fell and the surplus of the income account turned into a deficit.
The surplus recorded in the services account is mainly the result of surpluses in financial services, “other business services”, which includes miscellaneous business, professional and technical services, transportation and computer and information services, partially offset by deficits in travel and royalties and license fees.