Methodology and notification tables Maastricht deficit and debt level

The statistical definition of the data to be reported is based on the definitions in the national accounts (ESA 2010). Eurostat's “Manual on Government Deficit and Debt – Implementation of ESA 2010” and Eurostat decisions and guidelines regarding specific accounting issues specify in more detail these rules and are binding for all EU member states. In addition, every member state provides a detailed inventory of the methods, procedures and sources used to compile actual deficit and debt data and the underlying government accounts. All these documents are posted on Eurostat's website. Direct links can be found here on the right.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) calculates the Maastricht deficit, which corresponds to net borrowing as defined in ESA 2010. The EDP Notification Tables provide a reconciliation of the deficit as defined in the national public finance statistics and the Maastricht deficit. Details are published on the Federal Statistical Office’s website under "National accounts". The Bundesbank calculates the Maastricht debt level. Furthermore, the tables show reconciliation accounts that depict the relation between the Maastricht deficit and the change in the Maastricht debt level.

EDP Notification Table 1 contains the data for calculating government deficit and debt ratios as defined in the European budgetary surveillance procedure. In addition, the table provides an overview of the deficits at the different levels of government (central government, state government, local government, social security funds; including off-budget entities as per the national accounts classification rules), a breakdown of the debt structure by instrument category, and data on investment and interest expenditures as well as nominal GDP.

The report on the Maastricht debt level must list the individual components at their face value and include the following items: currency and deposits (coins in circulation), money market and capital market instruments, and short- and long-term loans. For example, financial derivatives, trade credits and other accounts payable, which may result from allocating transactions to an accounting period other than that of the payment date (accrual) or from financial transactions on the secondary market, are not included.

Unlike the debt level as defined in the national public finance statistics, the Maastricht debt level also includes (alongside coins in circulation) “imputed” borrowing. Examples include government initiated transactions that are attributable to the general government sector but are financed via public (non-government) enterprises instead of the core budget, and investment expenditure by public-private partnerships, provided that certain project risks are borne by government. Securitisation transactions where the government transfers only part of economic ownership or which are based on future tax or social security contributions are also included in Maastricht debt.

In Table 1, general government Maastricht debt (central, state and local government and social security funds) is recorded as a consolidated position – i.e. after adjustment for debt between the different government sub-sectors.

The Maastricht debt level is a gross figure. It therefore differs from the government's net financial position in that liabilities are not netted with government's financial claims or financial assets (except for consolidation within the general government sector). This is the main reason for differences between the Maastricht deficit and the change in Maastricht debt level. Notification Tables 3A to 3E contain reconciliation accounts which match the deficit with the change in the debt level both for consolidated general government (3A) and for the individual government sub-sectors (3B to 3E). As well as transactions in government financial assets, changes in other liabilities that are not included in the components of the Maastricht debt level can also give rise to differences. Additional adjustments are needed when matching the Maastricht deficit to changes in the Maastricht debt level, as the debt level is calculated at face valuation and before accrued interest (which is included in the deficit). Moreover, changes in the sector classification of certain public entities, for instance, may cause changes in the debt level which are not reflected in the deficit.

Whilst EDP Notification Table 1 records consolidated general government debt, the debt levels shown in Notification Tables 3B to 3E include liabilities to other levels of government. If holdings of other government subsectors’ debt, which are also recorded here, are subtracted, this gives the contribution of the individual level of government to the consolidated Maastricht debt level.

After validation of the data by it, Eurostat publishes the full notification tables. Pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2009, Member States must also publish a description of the sources and methods used to compile the data. The sources and methods used by each Member State are available on Eurostat's website.

The methodological principles as well as the precise compilation of Maastricht debt in Germany are described in more detail in a Bundesbank monthly report article.