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Public finance

An overview

Public finance indicators are of particular interest in planning the economy of the euro area as they allow to synthetically measure the level of economic and monetary stability of a Country.

General Government net lending/borrowing as a percentage of Gdp constitutes the reference indicator for budget management and for evaluating the state of public finances.

In 2016 the ratio of net borrowing to Gdp was -2.5 percent; the primary balance (net borrowing less interest expense) was unchanged compared to 2015 (1.5 percent on Gdp).

After a reduction of 0.2 percentage points in 2015, the debt/Gdp ratio in 2016 rose, by 0.5 percentage point, to 132.0 percent. The growth reflected the increase in cash holdings of the Treasury, against a constant ratio of primary surplus to GDP (1.5 percent) and marginal reductions in both the average cost and the nominal GDP growth rate.


Its trend has been significantly slower than in previous years, mainly due to the reduction in the average cost of debt and the greater economic growth, in the presence of a substantial stability in primary surplus.

The overall tax burden on Gdp in 2016 was 42.9 percent, down by 0.7 percentage points compared to the peak of the 2012-2013 period .

An analysis of the tax burden components shows significant variability in fiscal policies adopted over the years, due to the growing tax autonomy of local governments and the overall weight of local taxes on the total levy, with effects on the levels of competitiveness and performance of the economic system.

The weight of the public sector can be measured in terms of per capita state expenditure; after the reductions recorded between 2009 and 2012, over the last two years there has been a trend reversal.