On average, European Union countries had a gross government debt of roughly 88 percent of GDP in 2021. This average disguises real differences between EU countries, however. Whereas Greece had a government debt of 193 percent last year, Estonia came last in the ranking with a debt of only 18 percent in GDP equivalent.
The high Greek debt is well-known, but a number of other countries have also piled on debt that is higher than their own GDP. Italian debt, for example, is significant, at 151 percent of GDP. Portugal, in third place, had a debt of 127 percent of GDP. On a positive note, all three countries had even higher debts in 2020 and reduced them despite the ongoing coronavirus coronavirus pandemic. How countries are faring with the double burden of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine in 2022 remains to be seen.
Countries that, on the contrary, increased debt in between 2020 and 2021 included Germany (up 0.6 percentage points to 69.3 percent of GDP), Romania (up 1.6 percentage points to 48.8 percent of GDP), Bulgaria (up 0.4 percentage points to 25.1 percent of GDP) and the Czech Republich (up 4.2 percentage points to 41.9 percent of GDP).