German general government debt up in 2022 by €71 billion to €2.57 trillion, debt ratio down from 69.3% to 66.4%

General government debt in Germany as per the Maastricht Treaty definition, which is calculated in a harmonised manner across the European Union, increased by €71 billion in 2022 to €2.57 trillion. Debt rose at a slower rate than in previous years, with lower needs from the coronavirus pandemic as it came to an end being counteracted by new burdens arising from the energy crisis. Central government debt grew by €97 billion, but state government debt fell markedly.

The debt ratio, meaning the ratio of debt to nominal gross domestic product (GDP), fell by 2.9 percentage points to 66.4%. Despite the rise in debt, the debt ratio fell significantly because of the sharp increase in nominal GDP (+7.4%) owing to higher inflation, in particular. If looked at in isolation, this lowered the debt ratio by 5 percentage points in arithmetical terms.

The increase in debt was lower than the general government (Maastricht) deficit of €101 billion. This is because general government did not cover all of its borrowing requirements through new debt, but also by drawing on available bank deposits. During the coronavirus pandemic it had taken on higher debt than was ultimately needed and thus built up corresponding cash reserves.

The government-owned “bad banks” reduced their debt considerably, bringing it down by a total of €26 billion. Support measures in favour of domestic financial institutions had added €144 billion to the debt level and 3.7 percentage points to the debt ratio as at the end of 2022. Assistance measures for euro area countries fell slightly to €85 billion (2.2 percentage points of the debt ratio).

Due to changed methodology agreed with Eurostat, the debt of public rail infrastructure companies and local public transport companies is no longer recorded under corporations but under general government. The debt ratios of recent years are 0.6 to 0.7 percentage point higher as a result.


Debt level (€ billion)

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The EU Member States report data on their general government fiscal balance and debt to the European Commission each year at the end of March and end of September in what are known as EDP notifications. The Bundesbank calculates Maastricht debt, which is done in a harmonised manner across the European Union. Germany’s Maastricht debt is largely based on the “debt of the overall public budget”, which is calculated using the national government finance statistics concept. The Federal Statistical Office published its figures for this on 29 March 2023. Maastricht debt is generally higher (by €199 billion in 2022), as it is defined more broadly in methodological terms.