Ireland had third highest deficit in 2012

Country places behind Spain and Greece in EU ranking

Ireland also has one of the highest ratios of government debt to GDP at 117.4 per cent, behind Greece (156.9%), Italy (127.0%) and Portugal (124.1%). Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

Ireland also has one of the highest ratios of government debt to GDP at 117.4 per cent, behind Greece (156.9%), Italy (127.0%) and Portugal (124.1%). Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

Mon, Oct 21, 2013, 14:34

Ireland had the third largest deficit in the European Union in 2012 according to new figures from Eurostat.

Ireland, with a deficit in percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 8.2 per cent, placed third behind other debt-burdened countries Spain (10.6%) and Greece (9.0%).

In 2012 the lowest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded in Estonia and Sweden (both -0.2%), Luxembourg (-0.6%) and Bulgaria (-0.8%), while Germany (+0.1%) registered a government surplus. Seventeen Member States had deficits higher than 3 per cent of GDP.

According to the data, fifteen Member States recorded an improvement in their government balance relative to GDP in 2012 compared with 2011, with twelve worsening and one remaining stable.

When it comes to the ratio of government debt to GDP,Ireland again placed highly, with the fourth highest ratio of 117.4 per cent, behind Greece (156.9%), Italy (127.0%) and Portugal (124.1%).

The lowest ratios were recorded in Estonia (9.8%), Bulgaria (18.5%), Luxembourg (21.7%) and Romania (37.9%). Fourteen Member States had government debt ratios higher than 60 per cent of GDP. In all, six Member States recorded an improvement in their government debt relative to GDP in 2012 compared with 2011 and twenty-two worsening.