Debt mainly held by resident financial sector in more than half of the EU Member States

Long-term initial maturities largely prevail across Member States

Significant differences can be observed across the European Union (EU) regarding the sector in which government debt is held. Among Member States for which data are available, the share of government debt held by the (resident) financial corporations sector at the end of 2019 was highest in Denmark (74%), followed by Sweden (73%), Croatia (67%) and Italy (63%). In contrast, the largest proportion of debt held by non-residents was recorded in Cyprus (80%), ahead of Lithuania (76%), Latvia (74%) and Estonia (70%).

Generally, across the EU, less than 10% of debt was held by the resident non-financial sectors (non-financial corporations, households and non-profit institutions serving households), with the noticeable exceptions of Hungary (28%), Malta (26%), Portugal (15%) and Ireland (11%).

This information comes from a publication released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, covering detailed information on general government debt in the EU Member States broken down by subsector, financial instrument, debt holder, maturity, currency of issuance as well as government guarantees and other features. A small selection of data is covered in this news release.

Highest shares of short-term initial maturity in Sweden, Portugal and Italy

With 21% of total government debt having a term below one year, Sweden registered the highest proportion of short-term initial maturities of debt among the Member States at the end of 2019, ahead of Portugal (18%), Italy (15%), Hungary and Denmark (both 11%). At the opposite end of the scale, almost all of the debt (more than 98%) was made up of long-term maturities in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Czechia.

General government gross debt mainly financed by debt securities in most Member States

At the end of 2019, debt securities were the main financial instrument in almost all Member States. Czechia (92% of total general government debt), recorded the highest percentage, ahead of Hungary, Slovenia and Spain (all 87%), Malta and France (both 86%). In contrast, loans largely prevailed in Estonia (88%) and Greece (81%). The use of loans was also relatively high in Cyprus (41%), Sweden (33%), Croatia (29%), Luxembourg (28%) and Portugal (27%). Currency and deposits generally made up a relatively small share of debt, except in Portugal (13%), Ireland (11%) and Italy (9%).

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