IW study recommends slow repayment of corona national debt

Countries that want to adopt the euro must meet the convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty. Accordingly, the new debt (deficit) may amount to a maximum of three percent and the total debt to a maximum of 60 percent of the gross domestic product. The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) means that these requirements must also be complied with after joining the euro.

Valid since

1993 (Maastricht Treaty) and 1999 (SWP).


The Maastricht criteria are anchored in EU law, but have often been violated. The EU Commission has therefore initiated numerous so-called deficit procedures, which, however, have not had any financial consequences.

Debt leeway for Germany (measured against GDP 2018)

Almost 102 billion new debt and a good two trillion total debt.


Germany broke both rules early on. Total debt fell below 2019 percent in 17 for the first time in 60 years, but exceeded this level again significantly in the following year due to the corona crisis. New borrowing was also well above the Maastricht hurdle in 2020 at just under five percent. Because of the corona crisis, the EU suspended its deficit rules in the pandemic anyway.