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Press release 063 / 2017-02-23: General government records surplus of nearly 24 billion euros in 2016

WIESBADEN – Net lending of general government amounted to 23.7 billion euros in 2016 according to updated results of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). In absolute terms, this was the highest surplus achieved by general government since German reunification. When measured as a percentage of gross domestic product at current prices (3,132.7 billion euros), the Maastricht ratio of general government was +0.8%. These are data based on the definitions of the European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010; they are used to monitor the budget situation in the EU Member States. 

Net lending is calculated as the difference between revenue (1,411.4 billion euros) and expenditure (1,387.7 billion euros) of general government. Revenue was higher than expenditure at all levels of general government. The largest surplus in 2016 was achieved by social insurance funds (8.2 billion euros). In absolute terms, they improved their financial situation to a greater extent than any other government level. They were closely followed by central government, which showed a surplus of 7.7 billion euros at the end of 2016, after a surplus of 10.0 billion euros in the previous year. State government, too, continued the budget consolidation, achieving a surplus of 4.7 billion euros in 2016. Local government achieved net lending of 3.1 billion euros in 2016, which was slightly less than in the previous year. 

Major factors on the revenue side were a large increase in income tax and property tax payments (+6.5%) and the good employment situation, leading to a considerable growth in social contributions (+4.6%). The expenditure side was largely characterised by growth in expenditure on intermediate consumption (+8.7%) and a marked increase in expenditure on social benefits in kind (+6.2%).

Net lending/net borrowing of general government as a percentage of gross domestic product at current prices


Net lending/net borrowing of government levels 
Government level201120122013201420152016
EUR billion
Discrepancies in the totals may be due to rounding.
General government, total–25.9–0.9–5.48.620.923.7
of which:
Central government–29.4–16.1–8.18.610.07.7
State government–11.4–5.5–2.7–
Local government––
Social security funds15.318.

For further information:
Jens Grütz,
tel: +49 (0) 611 / 75 27 95,
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© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2018

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