ATHENS, Greece, April 23 (UPI) -- Recently released data show that Greece is not alone among European Union countries having a problem with rising debt.
With attention focused on Greece, the EU said the average deficit among its 27 member states had risen to an average of 6.8 percent of the gross domestic product, almost three times the average of 2008 when annual debt averaged 2.3 percent of the GDP, the EUobserver reported Friday.
Greece's task of reducing its debt to the target level set by the European Commission is greater than previously thought.
Government debt in Greece reached 13.6 percent of its annual gross domestic product in 2009. For several months, the widely circulated estimate had been that borrowing in Greece had reached 12.7 percent of the annual GDP.
Greece, which announced it would tap into international loans to help meet its obligations, had set 2012 as the year it could bring its debt in line with EU guidelines, which post the level at 3 percent.
The most recent figures "underline the urgency to intensify the preparations of structural reforms and additional measures for the coming years," Olli Rehn, EU economy commissioner, said in a statement.
Greece said it required about $13.3 billion to meet its obligations for another month. The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have assembled a loan package worth about $60 billion.