06:40 GMT26 September 2020
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    The public debt of eurozone area nations in the first quarter of 2015 reached 92.9 percent of total GDP, according to Eurostat data. A year ago the ratio was 91.9 percent.

    In the first quarter of 2015, the public debt of Eurozone member states reached an unprecedented milestone of 92.9 percent of total GDP, higher than that of 92 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, Eurostat data revealed.

    A year ago, the debt accounted for 91.9 percent of GDP.

    The new debt to GDP ratio is more than 50 percent higher than the maximum allowed level of 60 percent determined by the Stability and Growth Pact, according to Eurostat.

    Compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, fifteen euro area members registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio and twelve a decrease. The highest increases were recorded in Belgium, Italy and Croatia. The largest decreases were registered in Greece, Latvia and Lithuania.

    However, Greece is still leading with its debt to GDP ratio of 169 percent among the other member states.

    Besides Greece, the threshold of 100 percent has been passed by Italy, Belgium, Cyprus and Portugal.

    On Thursday, the Greek parliament passed a second round of austerity measures, including a streamlining of the civil justice process, cutting down on government costs. The reforms also institute a restructuring of bank liquidation, forcing failing banks to repay shareholders before customers.

    The new austerity measures are in addition to those passed last week which increase taxes and cut pensions.

    The measures are required for reaching an agreement with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Financial aid negotiations are planned to begin on July 24 and end in mid-August. If the agreement is reached between Greece and the creditors, the country is expected to receive €40-50 via the ESM and another €16 billion from the International Monetary Fund. In its turn, the Greek government has to implement the required reforms by August 7.


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