The General Government Gross Debt indicates the total government debt scaled to a country’s GDP. General Government includes federal or central, regional and local governments, as well as the social security system. We ranked them from lowest to highest: the first place has the lowest government debt in relation to the size of their economy. Rankings are for 2017 as almost half of the countries concerned have yet to publicise data for 2018.
To say that there is room for improvement is an understatement. At 120% of GDP, we have the second highest government debt of Northern and Western Europe. In the OECD, only France (124), the US (138%), Portugal (145%), Italy (152%), Greece (189%) and Japan (234%) perform worse.
One could argue that some government debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on macro-economic circumstances and what the funds were used for. However, a government debt of 122% of GDP means that if everything produced in the whole of Belgium in a whole year would be put towards repaying our debt, we would have about as much debt as Luxembourg has today (31%).