Croatia Among EU Members with Largest Decline in Debt

By 20 July 2018

ZAGREB, July 20, 2018 - At the end of the first quarter of 2018, Croatia's public debt totalled 281.3 billion kuna, a share of 76.2% in its GDP, which was 6.4 percentage points less than in the same period the year before, show statistics released by the EU's statistical office Eurostat on Friday.

In early July, the Croatian National Bank (HNB) too reported that the country's debt amounted to 281.3 billion kuna, or 76.2% of GDP.

Croatia is thus among the EU countries with the largest annual decrease in the share of public debt in GDP. Compared to the last quarter of 2017, Croatia's public debt dropped by 2 billion kuna and its share in GDP by 1.2 percentage points.

At the end of Q1, the public debt of the EU28 accounted for 81.5% of GDP, or 2.1 percentage points less than at the end of Q1 2017, while in the euro area, the share of public debt in GDP was 86.8%, or 2.4 pp less than at the end of Q1 2017.

Greece had the highest share of public debt in GDP, 180.4%, followed by Italy, with 133.4%, and Portugal, with 126.4%. The lowest debt-to-GDP ratio was reported by Estonia, 8.7%, followed by Luxembourg, with 22.2%, and Bulgaria, with 24.1%.

Compared to Q1 2017, only Greece recorded an increase in the share of public debt in GDP in Q1 2018, of 2.7 pp. All the other EU members saw a drop in their debt-to-GDP ratio, with Cyprus reporting the greatest decline, of 11.3 pp, followed by Ireland, with 6.5 pp, Croatia, with 6.4 pp, Malta, with 6.2 pp, and Slovenia, with 5.3 pp.

According to Eurostat's seasonally adjusted data on the EU 28 budget deficit, at the end of Q1 it accounted for 0.5% of GDP, and in the euro area its share in GDP was 0.1%. The share of the budget deficit in GDP thus dropped in relation to the same period of 2017, going down in the EU by 0.6 pp and in the euro area by 1 pp.

Romania had the highest budget deficit, accounting for 4.2% of GDP, while the biggest surpluses were reported by the Netherlands and Malta, of 2.5% of GDP each, and Germany and Bulgaria, of 2.4% of GDP each.