The general government debt, as defined in the Treaty of Maastricht, is the total gross debt at nominal value outstanding of the general government sector at the end of the year, measured on a consolidated basis, i.e. excluding debts owed to a creditor that is also belonging to the general government sector.
The categories of the ESA (European System of Accounts) 2010 taken into account in determining the general government debt are the following : currency and deposits, securities other than shares and excluding financial derivatives, and loans.
The general government sector is defined on an economic point of view with reference to ESA 2010 and consists of all the public institutional units that are non-market producers. The general government sector is divided into the following sub-sectors :
- The sub-sector central government includes all the administrative departments of the State as well as other central agencies whose competence extends normally to the whole economic territory, except for the central departments of social security.
- The sub-sector state government includes all the departments depending on the Communities and Regions and whose competence normally extends to their economic territory except for state government of social security.
- The sub-sector Local government includes those types of public administration depending on provinces as well as municipalities and whose competence extends to only a local part of the economic territory, apart from local agencies of social security funds. Provinces and local communities belong to this sub-sector.
- The sub-sector social security funds includes all central, federated and local institutional units whose principal activity is to provide social benefits. Their main resources come from compulsory contributions.