General government balance and debt

The government balance (or EMU balance) is the overall difference between government revenues and spending. 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. When expenditure exceeds revenues, this is referred to as a ‘government deficit’ or ‘budget deficit’.

Government debt (or EMU debt) is the government debt at nominal value (not at market value). The so-called commercial credits and accruals do not form part of government debt. Mutual debts among different levels of government are also not included.

The data in this news release are drawn up on the basis of European directives for national accounts (ESR2010) and supplementary European rules for the definition of government deficit and government debt.