Ljubljana - Slovenia's public debt soared to 71.7 percent in 2013 from 54.4 percent in 2012, mostly due to the recapitalisation of state-owned banks to avoid a bailout, the eurozone country's statistics office said Monday.

This year, the debt will rise to 28.8 billion euros ($39.7 billion), or 80.9 percent of gross domestic product, it said, almost four times the level of 2008 before the global financial crisis hit.

The public deficit meanwhile rose to 14.7 percent of GDP in 2013, almost five times the EU limit, from 3.8 percent in 2012.

Slovenia was badly shaken by the crisis but in December the government soothed fears that it might become the sixth eurozone country to need a bailout by recapitalising its stricken lenders.

But it remains under close watch by the European Commission for the second year in a row due to its high public debt and weak corporate governance, although the economy is expected to return to growth in 2014. - Sapa-AFP