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Press release 067 / 2013-02-22: General government achieved surplus in 2012 – Maastrichtratio at +0.2%

WIESBADEN – Net lending of general government amounted to around Euro 4.2 billion in 2012 according to updated results of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). When measured as a percentage of gross domestic product at current prices (2,643.9 billion euros), the ratio of general government was +0.2%. Thus general government achieved a surplus again for the first time in five years. In fact, a surplus could be obtained in only three of the years which passed since German reunification. These are data based on the definitions of the European System of Accounts (ESA) 1995; they are used to monitor the development of the budget situation in the member states.

Net lending is calculated as the difference between revenue (1,194.1 billion euros) and expenditure (1,189.9 billion euros) of general government. The development was positive at the individual government levels: central government and state government continued to reduce their deficits considerably in 2012, and the surplus of local government and social security funds increased once more. When subdivided among government levels, net borrowing of central government amounted to 12.2 billion euros and that of state government to 6.8 billion euros, thus being only half the size of one year earlier. Net lending of local government was 6.1 billion euros compared with 1.9 billion euros in the preceding year. Social security funds even achieved a surplus of 17.0 billion euros, with the highest surplus since the beginning of the 1990s having been recorded in 2011 (15.9 billion euros). 

Based on the definitions that are relevant to the European procedure in case of an excessive deficit of general government, net lending of general government amounted to 4.1 billion euros. The slightly smaller surplus is due to the fact that revenue and expenditure arising from swap transactions and interest rate derivatives are taken into account. Calculated according to these definitions, the surplus was +0.2%, too, when related to the gross domestic product at current prices.

Net lending/net borrowing of general government (including revenue and expenditure arising from swap transactions) in percent of gross domestic product at current prices


Net borrowing/net lending according to the definitions relevant to the excessive deficit procedure, including revenue and expenditure arising from swap transactions
Government level200720082009201020112012
EUR billion
Discrepancies in the totals may be due to rounding.
General government, total+5.8–1.9–73.2–103.4–20.2+4.1
of which:
Central government–18.6–16.6–38.4–82.6–26.7–12.2
State government+2.5–1.2–18.4–19.8–11.3–6.8
Local government+11.1+9.0–2.2–5.3+1.9+6.1
Social security funds+10.8+6.9–14.2+4.3+15.9+17.0

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