On average, European Union
countries had a gross government debt of roughly 81 percent of GDP in 2018. This average disguises real differences between EU countries
. Whereas Greece
had a government debt of 177.8 percent in 2018, Estonia
had a debt of only 8.8 percent - the lowest in the entire EU zone.
The high Greek debt is well-known. A number of other countries however also have a debt that is higher than their own GDP. The Italian debt, for example, is lower than the Greek but still significant, at over 130 percent of GDP. Portugal
, in third place, had a debt of 122.5 percent. One small positive note though: all three countries had even higher debts in 2017, and the European Commission forecasted a slow, but further decrease of their government debt in 2019. Whether this holds true for Italy
, with their newly-elected government of Movimento 5 Stelle
remains to be seen.