German Maastricht debt level for 2013 down to €2.15 trillion or 78.4% of GDP

According to provisional calculations, general government debt in Germany as defined in the Maastricht Treaty amounted to €2.147 trillion at the end of 2013. This represented a decline of €14 billion compared with the previous year. The debt ratio, meaning the level of debt in relation to gross domestic product (GDP), decreased by 2.6 percentage points to 78.4%. Nominal GDP growth contributed 2.1 percentage points to this.

While the government budget as defined in the Maastricht Treaty showed only a marginal surplus, the portfolio reduction at government-owned bad banks by €52 billion was key to the decline in debt. It outweighed by far other factors which had the effect of driving up the debt level, notably the additional support measures for euro-area countries totalling €20 billion. The support measures stemmed, inter alia, from EFSF loans and capital transfers to the ESM. Neither the portfolio reduction nor the support measures had any impact on the government deficit, as this net decrease in 2013 was brought about by financial transactions which changed financial assets and financial liabilities to the same extent.

Since the debt and financial market crisis began, general government debt in Germany had grown as a result of support measures in favour of domestic financial institutions and for euro-area countries; this trend therefore went into reverse last year. If further risk assets can be liquidated in the future and assistance loans repaid, this will have the effect of further reducing the debt level. The cumulative effect of financial market support on the debt level since 2008 amounted to around €233 billion or 8½% of GDP at the end of 2013. In connection with the sovereign debt crisis, measures which had the effect of increasing the debt level totalled €84 billion or 3% of GDP.

Under the European budgetary surveillance procedure, EU member states are obliged to submit data on general government deficit and debt levels to the European Commission (the so-called Maastricht returns) twice a year (end-March and end-September). For this purpose, the Federal Statistical Office calculates the deficit as defined in the Maastricht Treaty, while the Bundesbank calculates the Maastricht debt level.

Debt level








€ billion

1,584 1,653 1,771 2,059 2,088 2,161 2,147

as a % of GDP