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Eurostat: Greek fiscal deficit below the 3.0% ceiling of the Maastricht Treaty.

The European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, said that Greece's fiscal deficit fell to 2.6% of the country's GDP last year.

Eurostat, in an announcement, said the Greek fiscal deficit dropped to €5.1 billion ($6.1 billion) in 2006, or 2.6% of GDP, from 5.5% in 2005 (€9.9 billion or $13.43 billion). Hungary (9.2%), Italy (4.4%), Poland (3.9%), Portugal (3.9%) and Slovakia (3.4%) recorded the biggest fiscal deficits in 2006, while Denmark (4.2%), Finland (3.9%), Estonia (3.8%) and Bulgaria (3.3%) recorded fiscal surpluses last year.

Greece's public debt eased to 104.6% of GDP in 2006 (€204.2 billion or $277 billion), from 107.5% (€194.6 billion or $264 billion) in 2005. Italy (106.8%) recorded the biggest public debt among EU member-states last year, while Estonia (4.1%), Luxembourg (6.8%), Latvia (10%) and Romania (12.4%) recorded the lowest public debt rates in 2006. Eurostat said public spending in Greece totaled 46.1% of GDP in 2006, slightly up from a 45.8% average rate in the Eurozone.

The statistics agency said the Greek figures were based on non-revised GDP figures provided recently by the country's National Statistics Service. Eurostat said revised figures were under examination by Community services. (ana.gr)