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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 2017 the ratio of net borrowing to Gdp was -2.4%; the primary balance (net borrowing less interest expense) was unchanged compared to 2016 (1.4% on Gdp).


The debt/GDP ratio in 2017 reduced for the third consecutive year by 2 tenths of a percentage point, reaching 131.2% from the peak of 131.8% in 2014. The decrease was contributed, in addition to the slow but continuous decline of the deficit, even by the moderate growth of nominal GDP.

The tax burden on Gdp in 2017 was 42.2%, down by about 1.5 percentage point compared to the peak of the 2012-2013 period.

An analysis of the tax burden components highlights the variability of the 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, since 2007 direct burden on households and enterprises has started growing again.

The weight of the public sector can be measured in terms of per capita state expenditure; in 2016 there was an increase in the level for the fourth consecutive year.