Maastricht criteria

The euro area's debt hangover

The ongoing difficulties in Greece – combined with the ECB’s dramatic actions to ward off deflation – are distracting attention from what may be the euro area’s biggest and most pervasive problem: debt.

You wouldn’t know it from the record low level of government bond yields, but much of Europe lives under a severe debt burden. Nonfinancial corporate debt exceeds 100 percent of GDP in Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. And, gross government debt (as measured by Eurostat) is close to or exceeds this threshold in Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain...

Read More