Eurozone collective debt hits new record high of 92.2%


Richard Moore

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Eurozone collective debt hits new record high of 92.2%

Official data show the collective debt in the eurozone has hit a new record high of 92.2 percent in first quarter of 2013, as the 17-nation bloc continues to grapple with a worsening financial crisis.

The data released by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, on Monday showed that government debt as a share of the total annual GDP of the eurozone increased to 92.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from 90.6 percent the previous quarter. 

The EU agency further stated that the highest debt-to-GDP ratios were traced to Greece at 160.5 percent, Italy at 130.3 percent, Portugal at 127.2 percent, and Ireland at 125.1 percent. 

The latest data showed that many EU countries remain mired in recession with reported debt burdens becoming heavier as states survive on bailout loans. 

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is entering its sixth year of recession because of the government-introduced harsh austerity measures that have resulted in more than a quarter of Greeks losing their jobs. 

Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy. 

Portugal is the third country after Greece and Ireland to succumb to financial troubles in the eurozone debt crisis, seeking financial assistance to the tune of a EUR 78-billion bailout. 

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.