The FINANCIAL -- In 2017, the government deficit and debt of both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28 decreased in relative terms compared with 2016.
In the euro area the government deficit to GDP ratio fell from 1.5% in 2016 to 0.9% in 2017, and in the EU28 from 1.6% to 1.0%. In the euro area the government debt to GDP ratio declined from 89.0% at the end of 2016 to 86.7% at the end of 2017, and in the EU28 from 83.3% to 81.6%.
In this release, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, is providing government deficit and debt data based on figures reported in the first 2018 notification by EU Member States for the years 2014-2017, for the application of the excessive deficit procedure (EDP). This notification is based on the ESA 2010 system of national accounts. This release also includes data on government expenditure and revenue.
In 2017, Malta (+3.9%), Cyprus (+1.8%), the Czech Republic (+1.6%), Luxembourg (+1.5%), Sweden and Germany (both +1.3%), the Netherlands (+1.1%), Denmark (+1.0%), Bulgaria (+0.9%), Greece and Croatia (both +0.8%) and Lithuania (+0.5%) registered a government surplus, while Slovenia reported a government balance. The lowest government deficits as a percentage of GDP were recorded in Ireland and Estonia (both -0.3%), Latvia (-0.5%) and Finland (-0.6%). Two Member States had deficits equal to or higher than 3% of GDP: Spain (-3.1%) and Portugal (-3.0%).
At the end of 2017, the lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Estonia (9.0%), Luxembourg (23.0%), Bulgaria (25.4%), the Czech Republic (34.6%), Romania (35.0%) and Denmark (36.4%). Fifteen Member States had government debt ratios higher than 60% of GDP, with the highest registered in Greece (178.6%), Italy (131.8%), Portugal (125.7%), Belgium (103.1%) and Spain (98.3%).
In 2017, government expenditure in the euro area was equivalent to 47.1% of GDP and government revenue to 46.2%. The figures for the EU28 were 45.8% and 44.9% respectively. In both zones the government expenditure ratio decreased between 2016 and 2017, while the government revenue ratio increased.
Reservations on reported data
France: Eurostat is expressing a reservation on the quality of the data reported by France. Firstly, in relation to the sector classification of the Agence Française de Développement, which Eurostat considers should be classified inside the general government sector. A future reclassification will result in an increase in government debt.
Moreover, Eurostat considers that the capital injection by the State into AREVA (NewCo/Orano) for an amount of €2.5 bn (0.1% of GDP) in 2017 should be treated as a capital transfer, with an impact on the deficit.
Eurostat is expressing a reservation on the quality of the data reported by Hungary in relation to the sector classification of the foundations created by the Hungarian National Bank. Eurostat considers that these foundations, including their subsidiaries, should be classified inside general government.
Eurostat is withdrawing the reservation on the quality of the data reported by Hungary in relation to the sector classification of Eximbank (Hungarian Export-Import Bank Plc), due to the reclassification of Eximbank inside general government undertaken by the Hungarian statistical authorities.
Belgium: Eurostat is withdrawing the reservation on the quality of the data reported by Belgium in relation to the sector classification of hospitals, pending the results of on-going consultations on the issue at EU level.