According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, government debt in Europe is rising: At the end of the first quarter of 2014, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA18) stood at 93.9%, compared with 92.7% at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013. This increase comes after two consecutive quarters of decrease. In the EU28, the ratio increased from 87.2% to 88.0%. Compared with the first quarter of 2013, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 92.5% to 93.9%) and the EU28 (from 86.2% to 88.0%).
The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the first quarter of 2014 were recorded in Greece (174.1%), Italy (135.6%) and Portugal (132.9%), and the lowest in Estonia (10.0%), Bulgaria (20.3%) and Luxembourg (22.8%).
So, which countries have improved during one year, and which countries have done worse? Compared with the first quarter of 2013, sixteen Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the first quarter of 2014, and ten a decrease. The highest increases in the ratio were recorded in Cyprus (+24.6 pp), Slovenia (+23.9 pp), Greece (+13.5 pp) and Croatia (+9.9 pp), while the largest decreases were recorded in Poland (-7.7 pp), Germany (-3.2 pp), the Czech Republic (-2.2 pp), Latvia (-1.4 pp) and Belgium (-0.9 pp).