Stability and Growth Pact

Under the Stability and Growth Pact, the countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) have agreed that the government budget deficit should not exceed 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The total public debt should be lower than 60 percent of GDP or the rate of decline should be acceptable. In March 2005, the top of the European council decided that in times of economic recession, the 3 percent criterion can be abandoned temporarily.