Spain fell behind just Cyprus for the highest deficit by percentage of GDP, with a deficit of about €61.4 billion, or 5.8 percent GDP, according to a Eurostat report on Tuesday.
Cyprus reported a deficit of 8.8 percent of GDP, or about €1.5 billion. Both the United Kingdom and Croatia came after Spain for highest deficits, each amounting to 5.7 percent of GDP.
Spain’s overall debt reached more than €1 trillion last year – nearly 98 percent of GDP.
Spain’s debt was not the highest by percentage of GDP, with Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus and Belgium all reporting debts of over 100 percent of GDP.
A deficit is the amount a government spends more than its income within any given financial year, while debt is the total amount a government owes over time.
Throughout the euro area, government deficit fell overall from 2.9 percent to 2.4 percent of GDP or about €246 billion, while EU member state deficits fell from 3.2 percent to 2.9 percent of GDP or about €402 billion in 2014.
Still, government debt in the euro area rose last year to 91.9 percent from 90.0 percent of GDP in 2013, while in the EU as a whole government debt was up to 86.8 percent of GDP from 85.5 percent the previous year. Euro zone debt amounted to about €9.3 trillion while EU debt totaled more than €12 trillion last year.
EU policies are forcing countries to reduce budget deficits, despite the fact that reducing spending could slow already very weak growth.
According to the EU Stability and Growth Pact, member states are supposed to aim for limits on deficits of 3 percent of GDP and debt of 60 percent of GDP.