Two European Union’s member states – Spain and Portugal – last year had a government deficit [calculated on ESA methodology, the European system of accounts] equal or higher than 3 percent, while Romania had a budget deficit of 2.9 percent of the GDP, according to a preliminary estimate released on Monday by Eurostat.
Spain recorded a negative balance of 3.1 percent of GDP and Portugal a deficit of 3 percent.
In 2017, Malta (3.9 percent), Cyprus (1.8 percent), the Czech Republic (1.6 percent), Luxembourg (1.5 percent), Sweden and Germany (both 1.3 percent), Denmark (1 percent), Bulgaria (0.9 percent), Greece and Croatia (both 0.8 percent) and Lithuania (0.5 percent) recorded a budget surplus, while Slovenia reported budget balance. The lowest government deficit was reported last year by Ireland and Estonia (both minus 0.3 percent), Latvia (minus 0.5 percent) and Finland (minus 0.6 percent).
By contrast, at the end of 2017, Romania was among the EU member states with the lowest level of government debt reported to the Gross Domestic Product (35 percent), a lower level being recorded only in Estonia (9 percent), Luxembourg (23 percent), Bulgaria (25.4 percent) and the Czech Republic (34.6 percent). At the EU level, 15 member states had a government debt above 60 percent of the GDP in 2017, with the highest levels being in Greece (178.6 percent), Italy (131.8 percent), Portugal (125.7 percent), Belgium (103.1 percent) and Spain (98.3 percent).
According to Eurostat, the government deficit and debt, both in the Eurozone and in the EU27, declined compared to 2016.
In the Eurozone, the government deficit fell from 1.5 percent of GDP in 2016 to 0.9 percent of GDP in 2017, while in the EU it went down from 1.6 percent to 1 percent. As to the government debt, in the Eurozone it went down from 89 percent of the GDP by the end of 2016 to 86.7 percent by the end of 2017, while in the EU it decreased from 83.3 percent to 81 percent.