Public deficit and debt soared in the EU as governments massively supported their economies to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, Eurostat said in a new publication on Thursday.
Among other striking figures, government debt in the euro area reached 98% of GDP, the European statistics agency noted.
"In the euro area, the government debt to GDP ratio increased from 83.9% at the end of 2019 to 98.0% at the end of 2020, and in the EU from 77.5% to 90.7%."
"In the euro area, the government deficit to GDP ratio rose from 0.6% in 2019 to 7.2% in 2020, and in the EU from 0.5% to 6.9%," Eurostat reported.
Greece, which was still reeling from its sovereign debt crisis, had the highest debt in the bloc compared to the size of its economy (205.6%).
It was followed by Italy (155.8%), Portugal, (133.6%), Spain (120.0%), Cyprus (118.2%), France (115.7%) and Belgium (114.1%), Eurostat said.
Spain, Malta, Greece and Italy had the highest deficits.
All EU member states except Denmark had deficits higher than 3% of GDP, contrary to EU rules known as the Stability and Growth Pact that have been suspended due to the pandemic.
Last week, three top French economists called for the much-violated rules to be dropped, arguing unnecessary austerity would hamper recovery efforts after the coronavirus crisis.