Estonia has the lowest debt to GDP ratio in the EU

Estonia has the lowest debt to GDP ratio in the European Union – 8.7 per cent – according to the EU statistics office, Eurostat.

The statistics office said that at the end of 2017, the lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Estonia (8.7%), Luxembourg (23.0%), Bulgaria (25.6%), the Czech Republic (34.7%), Romania (35.1%) and Denmark (36.1%).

Fifteen EU member states had government debt ratios higher than 60% of GDP, with the highest registered in Greece (176.1%), Italy (131.2%), Portugal (124.8%), Belgium (103.4%), France (98.5%) and Spain (98.1%), Eurostat said in a statement.

When it comes to government surplus or deficit, the picture isn’t that rosy. Estonia may have one of the lowest government deficits in the EU (-0.4%), but 13 countries in the 28-member bloc, including one of Estonia’s Baltic neighbours, Lithuania, were running a surplus in 2017.

In 2016, Estonia had a 0.3% government deficit, but in 2015, the country had a 0.1% surplus, and in 2014, the surplus was even 0.7%.

The lower debt to GDP ratio, the lower the risk

The debt-to-GDP ratio is the ratio of a country’s public debt to its gross domestic product (GDP). By comparing what a country owes with what it produces, the debt-to-GDP ratio indicates its ability to pay back its debts.

A high debt-to-GDP ratio may make it more difficult for a country to pay external debts and may lead creditors to seek higher interest rates when lending.

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Cover: Estonia’s piggy bank (the image is illustrative/Shutterstock).

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.