During the first three months of this year, Czech debt increased by 1.4% to 35.8% of GDP. According to the Ministry of Finance, the main reason for this rise was an attempt to acquire funds on favourable terms for the planned repayments of treasury bonds this year. Despite this rise, The Czech Republic is still one of the least indebted EU countries. Only Denmark (33.6%), Luxembourg (21.3%), Bulgaria (21.2%) and Estonia (8.1%) have a lower debt to GDP ratio.
Data from the European Union‘s statistical office Eurostat shows that 11 other EU members also saw rises in debt, the highest being Belgium (by 3.1% to 105.1% of GDP) and Cyprus (by 2.5% to 105% of GDP). Germany, Lithuania and Slovakia maintained a stable debt to GDP ratio. From the remaining 13 states that reduced their debt, Sweden (fall of 2.5% to 36.3% of GDP) and Slovenia (fall of 2.3% to 67.9% of GDP) were notable.
The total debt of the 28 member countries increased by 0.7% to 80.7% of GDP in the first quarter, and the eurozone increased by 0.8% to 85.9%. Last year, the situation in the first quarter of 2018 was reversed, debt in both the eurozone (-1.2%) and the whole EU (-0.9%) falling during the first three months.
Greece remains the most indebted state in the EU, its debt being 181.9% of GDP at the end of the first quarter, followed by Italy (134%) and Portugal (123%). Belgium (105.1%) and Cyprus (105%) have stayed over 100%. France (99.7%) and Spain (98.7%) have debt levels well over the 60% limit set by the Maastricht convergence criteria.