Sweden cheers second-highest budget surplus in the EU

Sweden cheers second-highest budget surplus in the EU
Sweden's Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT
Sweden registered the second-highest budget surplus in the EU in 2016, according to fresh stats.

The report from the EU's statistics agency Eurostat shows Sweden in a shared second place with Malta, with a budget surplus of 1.1 percent of GDP last year. Luxembourg came top, with 1.6 percent.

“It confirms how strong our public finances are in Sweden,” the Nordic country's Social Democrat Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson told Swedish newswire TT in response to the report, listing three reasons behind the strong performance: “Tight fiscal policies, more jobs and cost control.”

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Germany followed behind Sweden with a budget surplus of 0.8 percent, according to Eurostat, with Spain registering the highest deficit (-4.5 percent). The UK reported a deficit of -2.9 percent of GDP.

The report also shows big differences between the EU countries' government debt in relation to their GDP. In Estonia the government debt amounted to 9.4 percent of GDP in 2016, while the countries worst hit by the financial crisis such as Greece, Italy and Portugal had debts exceeding their GDP.

Sweden's government debt was at 42.2 percent of the GDP in 2016.

“There are some Eastern European countries that are new and have low government debt. Next year Sweden will have the lowest government debt we have had since 1977,” commented Andersson.

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