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National accounts, domestic product

The European procedure in the event of an excessive deficit

According to the Treaty establishing the European Community, the member states of the EU are obliged to avoid excessive government deficits (Article 104). That obligation was confirmed by the European Stability and Growth Pact when the EURO was introduced as a common currency in the participating member states. If certain reference values are exceeded in a member state, the excessive deficit procedure, as it is called, is triggered, at the end of which fines amounting to billions may have to be paid.

The data on government deficit and debt in 2016 in the euro area as well as in EU28 were updated on 24 April 2017.

The reference values to be observed are specified in the Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community:

  • 3% for the ratio of government deficit to gross domestic product at market prices;
  • 60% for the ratio of government debt to gross domestic product at market prices.

Data based on the European System of Integrated Economic Accounts (ESA) have to be used for the purpose.

More specific implementation provisions regarding the data for the Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure are provided by Council Regulation European Communities (EG) No 479/2009 (only in German), last amended by Council Regulation European Union (EU) No 679/2010. Accordingly, the annual data required for the excessive deficit procedure have to be reported to the European Commission before 1 April and before 1 October of a year. The data are checked by the European Commission (Eurostat) and then published.

The reporting of government deficits and debt levels, detailed explanations on the methods used for compilation of national accounts net lending (+) net borrowing (-) and the corresponding Eurostat Press release can be found in the subsequent documents.

Additional Information

Key figures

Key data for total economy 2017
Price, seasonally and calendar-adjusted change on the previous quarter in %
2nd quarter 2017
Gross domestic product0.6%
Final consumption expenditure of households and NPISHs0.8%
Government final consumption expenditure0.6%
Gross fixed capital formation1.0%


On 29 April 2016, Eurostat published a preliminary GDP flash estimate around 30 days after the end of the reference quarter, starting with the first quarter of 2016.

© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2017

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