General government gross debt (sdg_17_40)

ESMS Indicator Profile (ESMS-IP)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Relevance
4. Statistical Indicator
5. Frequency and Timeliness of dissemination
6. Coverage and comparability
7. Accessibility and clarity
8. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)
Eurostat Quality Profile
4.5. Source data


5.1. Frequency of dissemination Every year
5.2. Timeliness T+1 year
6.1. Reference area All EU MS
6.2. Comparability - geographical All EU MS
6.3. Coverage - Time > 10 years
6.4. Comparability - over time > 4 data points

Description of Eurostat quality grading system under the following link.

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

e-mail contact :

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 17/05/2018
2.2. Metadata last posted 08/05/2021
2.3. Metadata last update 08/05/2021

3. Relevance Top

The indicator is part of the EU Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicator set. It is used to monitor progress towards SDG 17 on revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development; which is embedded in the European Commission’s Priorities under 'A stronger Europe in the world'.

Among other things, SDG 17 highlights the importance of global macroeconomic stability.

To help others to advance their economies, it is pivotal to keep the EU’s own economies on a sustainable development path. Macroeconomic management that aims to ensure financial stability in the EU is therefore one pillar of the EU’s contribution to implementing the SDGs. Government debt should consequently be limited to a manageable level and not exceed 60 % of GDP, as laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Treaty is complemented by Regulation 1176/2011 on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances as well as Regulation 1174/2011 on enforcement action to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area. Both regulations aim to detect fiscal imbalances in the EU and allow, inter alia, for sanctions enforcement. The Economic Reform Programmes, which were introduced in 2015, form an equivalent system for EU candidates and potential candidates.

4. Statistical Indicator Top
4.1. Data description

The indicator is defined (in the 2012 consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) and explained in Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2009, as amended and Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (ESA 2010) and subsequent legal amendments, supplemented by further interpretation and guidance from Eurostat, in particular the Manual on Government Deficit and Debt as the ratio of total government gross debt at nominal value outstanding at the end of the year to GDP at current market prices.

The government debt is defined as the total consolidated gross debt at nominal value at the end of the year in the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA 2010): currency and deposits (AF.2), debt securities (AF.3) and loans (AF.4). The general government sector comprises the subsectors of central government, state government, local government and social security funds.

4.2. Unit of measure

% of GDP and million EUR (current prices)

4.3. Reference Period

Calendar year

4.4. Accuracy - overall

The indicator is produced according to the high-level quality standards of European Statistics. Details on accuracy can be found in the metadata of the source datasets (see link to related metadata).

4.5. Source data


Data source: European Statistical System (ESS).

Data provider: Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), based on data reported by the countries.

5. Frequency and Timeliness of dissemination Top
5.1. Frequency of dissemination

Every year

The indicator is updated annually.

5.2. Timeliness

T+1 year

New data points are disseminated within one year after the reference year.

6. Coverage and comparability Top
6.1. Reference area


Data are presented for all EU Member States plus the United Kingdom.

6.2. Comparability - geographical


Data are comparable between all EU Member States respectively other presented countries.

6.3. Coverage - Time

> 10 years

Presented time series (including EU aggregates) starts in 2000.

6.4. Comparability - over time

> 4 data points

Length of comparable time series without methodological break is longer than 4 data points.

7. Accessibility and clarity Top
7.1. Dissemination format - Publications

Analysis of the indicator is presented in Eurostat's annual monitoring report on Sustainable development in the EU (progress towards SDGs in the EU context).

7.2. Dissemination format - online database

See table sdg_17_40.

7.3. Dissemination format - other

Eurostat dedicated section on SDGs:

8. Comment Top

Copyrights: Eurostat Copyright/Licence Policy is applicable.

Related metadata Top
gov_10dd_esms - Government deficit and debt

Annexes Top