German general government debt down in 2017 by €53 billion to €2.09 trillion – debt ratio down from 68.2 % to 64.1 %
General government debt in Germany as defined in the Maastricht Treaty amounted to €2,093 trillion at the end of last year. This represents a €53 billion reduction in government debt in 2017. The debt ratio – the ratio of debt to nominal gross domestic product (GDP) – fell by 4.1 percentage points to 64.1 %. Nominal GDP growth made a contribution of 2.5 percentage points. The debt ratio was thus well below the peak figure of 80.9 % from the year 2010 and further converging towards the agreed Maastricht debt ceiling of 60 %.
The lion’s share of the decline in general government debt was accounted for by government “bad banks”, which deleveraged particularly by realising their financial assets. Support measures in favour of domestic financial institutions added a total of €193 billion to the debt level at the end of 2017, representing 5.9 % of current GDP. Assistance measures for euro area countries once again accounted for €88 billion (2.7 % of GDP).
State and local governments, too, made a significant contribution to deleveraging in the past year owing to high core budget surpluses. By contrast, the social security funds, which are largely debt-free, used their surpluses to further build up financial assets. The central government core budget (including its special funds) saw a slight increase in debt.
Under the European budgetary surveillance procedure, the European Union's member states are required to submit data on their general government deficit and debt levels to the European Commission twice a year (at the end of March and end of September). For this purpose, the Federal Statistical Office calculates the deficit as defined by the Maastricht Treaty, while the Bundesbank calculates the Maastricht debt level.
Debt level (€ billion)
% of GDP