27 Apr 2022

Eurozone Government Debt in 2021 goes over €11.7 trillion - up 5.6%

On the 22nd April, the Eurostat updated their data concerning Government Debt in the European Union and the Eurozone. You can find the full data wet here. But, as usual, I have compiled the data in a Google Sheet that you can find here.
If you include all 27 EU countries, the total comes to  €12,740,563,400,000 - also up 5.6% on 2020.

The increase in debt levels varied a lot between countries, with three countries actually managing to decrease their debt levels a bit - Denmark (-6.4%), Cyprus (-2.4%) and Sweden  (-2.3%). But other countries increased debt levels much more than the average. Czechia's debt went up 26%, and for several others the increase was double digit  including Bulgaria (12.4%, Latvia (15.6%), Luxembourg (12.4%), Malta (18.7%), Romania (13.6%) and Slovakia (11.4%).

The other fascinating information provided by Eurostat concerns the amount paid in Interest on Government debt.  It totaled over €198 billion for the European Union, with a few countries being particularly generous. French taxpayers handed over €34.5 billion, and those in Germany also contributed nearly €21 billion. But the most generous were Italian taxpayers, who paid out over €62.8 billion.

It's particularly impressive when you calculate the total amount of interest payments made since the Eurostat dataset started in 1995. For the 19 Eurozone countries, that total has now reached over €6.64 trillion, which constitutes over 87% of the increase in public sector debt over the same period. 

Have our governments been spending too much? Yes, sure. They have been spending far too much of our taxes paying the entities who lend our governments the money they keep borrowing. Spoiler alert. The banks that lend money to our governments don't actually have the money they lend us. They just create it out of thin air, and then sit back and let the interest payments come in. 

I suppose that you might argue that since interests rates are low at the moment, we are getting a good deal. It's true that Eurozone interest payments have dropped a bit over recent years, as you can see from this graph.


But €179 billion is not to be sniffed at. I suspect that there may be better things to do with that money. 

I really think that fixing this system should be a very high priority.


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