General government balance and debt

The general government balance (EMU balance) is the overall difference between government revenues and expenditure. In the case of expenditure exceeding revenues there is a government deficit, public deficit or budget deficit. Revenues and expenditure are recorded on an accrual basis, i.e. in the year in which economic value is created, transformed or cancelled, or when a right or obligation is created, changed or cancelled.

Government debt (also referred to as EMU debt) is the government debt valued at nominal value (not market value). So-called trade credit and other accounts receivable/payable are not included, neither are mutual debts among Dutch authorities.

The debt ratio is expressed as a percentage annual basis as debt outstanding at the end of each quarter divided by the sum of GPD over the previous four quarters.