Ireland's budget deficit for 2011 has increased, because of the recapitalisation of the banks last year.

Figures from the EU statistical agency Eurostat show that Ireland's deficit last year was 13.1% of GDP.

Without the extra capital committed to the banks, the deficit would have been 9.4% - below the EU/IMF target of 10.6%.

€16.5 billion was injected into Irish financial institutions in July of last year.

Of this €16.5 billion, €5.8 billion is classified as deficit increasing transfer, a Department of Finance statement said.

Today's figures are the first official EU figures on debt and deficits of all the member states for this year.

The ''Maastricht Returns'' show that the country's budget deficit was 13.1% last year - much higher than the EU/IMF target figure of 10.6%.

This is because Eurostat has ruled that part of the money used to recapitalise the banks had to count in the deficit figure for 2011. 

Without this, the underlying deficit would be 9.4%, comfortably within the EU IMF target, but still the highest deficit in the European Union.

Eurostat has also entered reservations on the Irish returns because of continuing uncertainty over the future of Irish Life and Permanent, and over Irish Life's shares in the special purpose vehicle that owns NAMA.

The Department of Finance says Irish LIfe has agreed the sale of its stake in the NAMA SPV to un-named private investors. This should allow NAMA's debts to continue to be kept off the State's balance sheet.

''The return of the underlying deficit to single figures is a positive development and reflects the very strong progress that has been made in restoring order to our public finances,'' commented Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

''This progress has been due to the very significant adjustments that the Irish people have taken over the past number of years. The Government appreciates that this adjustment was not painless and as the programme continues to reduce the deficit to under 3% by 2015, the Government will ensure that future expenditure cuts or tax increases continue to be applied fairly,'' he added.

The highest government deficits in percentage of GDP last year were seen in Ireland (-13.1%), Greece (-9.1%), Spain (-8.5%) and the UK (-8.2%). The lowest deficits were recorded in Finland (-0.5%), Luxembourg (-0.6%) and German (-1%)

The lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were seen in Estonia (6%), Bulgaria (16.3%) Luxembourg (18.2%) and Romania (33.3%). Fourteen member states had government debt ratios higher than 60% of GDP last year. They included Greece (165.3%), Italy (120.1%), Ireland (108.2%) and Portugal (107.8%). The others were Belgium, France, the UK, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Malta, Cyprus, Spain and the Netherlands.

The Maastricht Returns are submitted by each euro zone state to Eurostat twice a year, at the end of March and the end of September. In Ireland, the tables are compiled jointly by the Department of Finance and the Central Statistics Office. After a ''rigourous'' three week clarification process, the agreed returns are published by Eurostat, a statement from the Finance Department said.