LISBON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Portugal had the fourth largest public deficit in the European Union (EU) in the third quarter of 2020, at 7.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to data released by the EU's statistical office, Eurostat, on Thursday.
The negative result of the Portuguese accounts surpassed the 5.8 percent deficit-to-GDP ratio in the euro area and 5.6 percent recorded in the EU.
Despite the fact that Europe recorded a deficit in the third quarter of 2020, the Eurostat figures already show a strong recovery of six percentage points compared with the previous quarter.
The highest deficits in the EU were recorded in Malta, at 10.9 percent of GDP; Romania, at 10.0 percent; Lithuania, at 8.7 percent; Portugal and Spain, at 7.7 percent.
On the other hand, Portugal had the third highest ratio of public debt to GDP in the EU in the third quarter of last year, at 130.8 percent, behind only Greece (199.9 percent) and Italy (154.2 percent).
Across the euro area, the public debt to GDP ratio increased between July and September 2020 to 97.3 percent, while in the EU, the ratio stood at 89.8 percent.
"Since the first quarter of 2020, deficits (non-seasonally adjusted) started increasing because of the COVID-19 containment measures and policy responses to mitigate the economic and social impact of those containment measures," Eurostat stated on its official website.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 237 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 64 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 15.