Germany in the Corona crisis: Countries are owing almost 60 billion euros

As of: 12/29/2021 10:09 a.m.

Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the federal states have accumulated debts of almost 60 billion euros. What sounds like a lot is less than originally thought. The first countries want to start repaying as early as 2022.

The corona pandemic and the associated financial aid have given the federal states a high mountain of debt: it amounts to almost 60 billion euros, according to a survey by the dpa news agency among the finance ministries and authorities of all 16 federal states.

However, the total is well below the new debt that the countries had expected at the beginning of the pandemic. For the past year alone, the state parliaments, the citizenships of the two Hanseatic cities and the Berlin House of Representatives approved a debt of more than 100 billion euros. In many cases, however, the approved credit limit has not been fully utilized. The federal states quasi take stock decisions because they extend the borrowing process over several years.

In fact, the federal states took out new loans amounting to a good 57.6 billion euros last year and this year. Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate did not provide any specific information about the final amount for 2021, as the year is not yet over. Before the start of the pandemic, however, none of the countries had planned with new debt because of the debt brake.

Bavaria is the debt leader

Almost half of the total debt is attributable to the three large territorial states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg – with Bavaria being the front runner. The Bavarian state parliament has approved new loans of up to 20 billion euros to the state government. There is also a separately running “Bayernfonds” whose debt is expected to be around 40 billion euros. The state government has borrowed 10.1 billion in 2020 and 2021 so far. According to the Bavarian Ministry of Finance, another 5.8 billion are planned for next year.

North Rhine-Westphalia has approved loans of over 25 billion euros. Of this amount, only around 8.1 billion euros have been used since the outbreak of the pandemic. Baden-Württemberg granted the third-highest credit line nationwide with 14.6 billion euros. Of this, 9.3 billion euros have actually been raised so far.

The first countries want to pay off their first debts in 2022

In comparison, the debts taken on appear low in other federal states such as Schleswig-Holstein at 2.5 billion euros or in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania at 3.9 billion euros. Due to the lower economic output in these countries, the repayment becomes a great burden. The financially weak federal capital Berlin has raised as much as 7.3 billion.

Overall, all countries assume that the financial outlay caused by the pandemic will have consequences for decades. However, the first countries want to start repaying their first debts in the coming year. Baden-Württemberg plans to repay around 958 million euros in 2022. Lower Saxony also wants to repay almost 700 million euros, Thuringia expects a repayment of around 171 million euros.

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