Italy topped Greece’s 175.1 percent, as a ratio of government debt to GDP, with both countries well above the EU average of 87.1 percent, statistics agency Eurostat reported.
Portugal is also struggling to balance its books, registering a 129.0 percent debt ratio in 2013, ahead of Ireland with 123.7 percent and Cyprus’ 111.7 percent.
Countries in eastern Europe were shown to be faring better than the larger EU economies, with Estonia boasting the lowest debt ratio of 10.0 percent. Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania and Lithuania all featured in the top six, along with Luxembourg.
The poor figures for Italy come less than a week after Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan asked the EU to delay a deadline for cutting its public deficit. The government recently cut Italy’s 2014 growth forecast to 0.8 percent, although the minister promised that plans to revamp the economy would have a positive impact next year.