13 General government: debt and fiscal balance
The general government fiscal balance equates to the difference between the revenue and expenditure of central government, state government, local government and social security funds based on the methodological concepts of the European System of Accounts. If, for example, expenditure in a given period exceeds revenue, the result is a negative balance, or a deficit.
General government (gross) debt as defined in the Maastricht Treaty encompasses liabilities in the form of cash and deposits (coins in circulation), money market and capital market paper, and long and short-term loans. The fiscal balance and debt level are the key fiscal indicators underlying the EU's excessive deficit procedure.