* Germany cuts debt in Q1 to 81.2 pct/GDP
* Estonia has lowest debt in Europe with 10.0 pct/GDP
* Five euro zone countries with debt over 100 pct/GDP
BRUSSELS, July 22 Europe's biggest economy
Germany and tiny Estonia were the only euro zone countries which
reduced their public debt in the first quarter of this year.
The bloc is in the longest recession since the creation of
the single currency in 1999, with five members receiving
international aid, a record high jobless rate and fragile
prospects for an export-driven recovery later this year.
Germany, which holds a general election in September, cut
its public debt to 81.2 percent of the gross domestic product
(GDP) in the three months to March from 81.9 percent in the
final quarter of 2012, data from the European Union's statistics
office Eurostat showed on Monday.
Estonia, which adopted the euro in 2011 as the 17th country
of the European Union, brought its debt down to 10.0 percent
from 10.1 percent of GDP -- the lowest debt ratio in Europe.
To help economic growth, European governments have decided
to slow down the pace of fiscal tightening, triggered in 2010 by
quickly rising borrowing costs as investors worried that huge
debts diminished their prospects of getting their money back.
There are currently five euro zone members with debt to GDP
ratios higher than 100 percent of the GDP, led by troubled
Greece with 160.5 percent and followed by the bloc's fourth
biggest economy Italy with a debt of 130.3 percent.