General government fiscal balance
The general government fiscal balance equates to the difference between revenue and expenditure for the entire government sector. If expenditure in a given period exceeds revenue, the result is a negative balance (government deficit). Under the Stability and Growth Pact, a member state’s general government fiscal deficit should not exceed 3% of GDP.
General government debt
General government debt as defined in the Maastricht Treaty is a gross figure. It therefore differs from the government’s net financial position in that liabilities are not netted against the government’s financial claims or financial assets. Under the Stability and Growth Pact, a member state’s general government debt level should not exceed 60% of GDP.
Data on the general government fiscal balance and general government debt are supplied twice a year by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in April and October. They are based on data sent by EU member states to the European Commission as part of the Stability and Growth Pact’s "Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP)" and are calculated according to the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). They cover the entire government sector (central, state and local government authorities, as well as social security funds).