Deficits throughout the euro zone were relatively modest prior to the economic collapse in 2008 according to data from the IMF. In fact, some euro zone countries, like Spain and Ireland, were even running budget surpluses. This didn't stop Reuters from telling readers in the first line of an article picked up by the NYT:

"Public debt levels in the euro zone neared their projected peak last year after more than a decade of huge borrowing."

This is seriously misleading since it implies that large deficits were a longstanding problem as opposed to an outgrowth of the economic crisis.