According to the Maastricht Treaty, the total government debt of member states of the European Union must not exceed 60 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP). By the end of 2019 Germany should once again meet this criterion, for the first time since 2002.
The Treaty signed in the Dutch town of Maastricht came into effect on 1 November 1993. The European Union that it founded was based on three pillars: the European Community, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and cooperation among ministers of justice and home affairs. The first pillar includes provisions affecting Economic and Monetary Union and regulations to ensure budgetary discipline, including the provision that the government debt of EU member states must not be equivalent to more than 60 per cent of their GDP.