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New High for Austria´s New Indebtedness

Published: April 27, 2011; 07:30 · (Vindobona)

Austria´s budget deficit for 2010 is at 4.6%, which is the highest one in the last 15 years. However, the average of EU-countries is even higher.

New High for Austria´s New Indebtedness / Picture: © Vindobona.org

The public deficit for Austria in 2010 amounted to 4.6%. Thus, the figure was below the average EU level of 6.0%. However, the deficit is the highest one since 1995. The overall debt ratio of Austria is with a 72.3% quota significantly above the Maastricht criteria, which allows a maximum of 60%. The ration in 2009 was at 69.6%. This increase is not only due to new debts, but also to a changed calculation method. Compared to the other EU-countries, Austria is situated in the middle-field.

In 2010, the government deficit1 of both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27 decreased compared with 2009, while the government debt1 and GDP increased. In the euro area the government deficit to GDP ratio decreased from 6.3% in 20093 to 6.0% in 2010, and in the EU27 from 6.8% to 6.4%. In the euro area the government debt to GDP ratio increased from 79.3% at the end of 2009 to 85.1% at the end of 2010, and in the EU27 from 74.4% to 80.0%.

In 2010 the largest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded in Ireland (-32.4%), Greece (-10.5%), the United Kingdom (-10.4%), Spain (-9.2%), Portugal (-9.1%), Poland (-7.9%), Slovakia (-7.9%), Latvia (-7.7%), Lithuania (-7.1%) and France (-7.0%). The lowest deficits were recorded in Luxembourg (-1.7%), Finland (-2.5%) and Denmark (-2.7%). Estonia (0.1%) registered a slight government surplus in 2010 and Sweden (0.0%) was in balance. In all, 21 Member States recorded an improvement in their government balance relative to GDP in 2010 compared with 2009 and six a worsening.

At the end of 2010, the lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Estonia (6.6%), Bulgaria (16.2%), Luxembourg (18.4%), Romania (30.8%), Slovenia (38.0%), Lithuania (38.2%), the Czech Republic (38.5%) and Sweden (39.8%). Fourteen Member States had government debt ratios higher than 60% of GDP in 2010: Greece (142.8%), Italy (119.0%), Belgium (96.8%), Ireland (96.2%), Portugal (93.0%), Germany (83.2%), France (81.7%), Hungary (80.2%), the United Kingdom (80.0%), Austria (72.3%), Malta (68.0%), the Netherlands (62.7%), Cyprus (60.8%) and Spain (60.1%).

In 2010, government expenditure in the euro area was equivalent to 50.4% of GDP and government revenue4 to 44.4%. The figures for the EU27 were 50.3% and 44.0% respectively. In both zones, the government expenditure ratio decreased between 2009 and 2010, while the government revenue ratio remained almost unchanged.