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Public finance

An overview

Public finance indicators are of particular interest in planning the economy of the euro area.
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 the Maastricht agreements a maximum deficit of 3 percent was set for admission to the Economic and monetary union (Emu), and Italy has converged with it since 2012.
Primary balance is obtained by subtracting interest paid from net debt and marks the differences between countries in debt servicing costs.
The debt/Gdp ratio in 2014 rose to 132.3. The upward trend, however, has slowed down due to a lower cost of debt, a greater economic growth and a smaller impact of lending to Emu Member states. These effects compensate the limited increase in nominal debt deriving from the reduction of primary surplus and the increase of the liquidity of the Treasury.

In the last three years, tax burden has stabilised and indirect taxes have started carrying greater relative weight. Between 2007 and 2010 direct taxes had weighed more heavily on households and enterprises. An analysis of the tax burden components shows significant variability in fiscal policies adopted over the years, 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 expenditure; in 2013 the indicator only partially made up for the fall of the previous year, reaching and even lower value than those recorded as of 2008.