Public finances

 

General

National accounts

Statistics on public finances are compiled under the conceptual framework of the European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 2010), supplemented by the ESA 2010 Manual on government deficit and debt. The national accounts system is built around a sequence of inter-linked flows, relating to various economic and financial transactions over a specific period, and also to balance sheets, which show figures for outstanding assets and liabilities held by the institutional sectors at the beginning and the end of the period under consideration. Government finance statistics, and in particular data concerning the excessive deficit procedure (EDP), form the basis for EU fiscal monitoring.

Non-financial accounts

The non-financial accounts generally tend to emphasise production of goods and services and the revenue generated from such economic activities over a given period. In the case of general government, these accounts are presented in the form of a table that gives all receipts (fiscal, parafiscal and others) on the one hand, and expenditure (current primary expenditure, interest charges and capital expenditure) on the other, without the interim balances being shown. In the accounting sequence, the balance of receipts and expenditure corresponds to the balance on capital account, which is effectively the dividing line between the "real" accounts and the financial account. It is this balance that determines the general government net lending or net borrowing.

Financial Accounts

The financial accounts indicate the various types of financial instruments used to contract liabilities and/or to acquire financial assets. In the case of general government, most of the time the data will refer to financing transactions in order to cover the budget deficit. But the financial account also explains any shifts in the portfolio's composition of financial assets and liabilities. In Belgium's macroeconomic accounts terminology, the financial accounts cover both the flows (financial transactions) and the claims and liabilities (outstanding financial assets and liabilities). The term financial accounts thus include the financial account proper, the financial balance sheets and the accounts for other changes in financial assets and liabilities.

Excessive deficit procedure (EDP)

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union obliges EU Member States to comply with budgetary discipline by respecting two criteria: a deficit equivalent to no more than 3% of GDP and a debt-to-GDP ratio not exceeding 60%, as defined in the Protocol on the EDP annexed to the Treaty. These reference values are based on Government Finance Statistics concepts (GFS). The government deficit is the net lending / net borrowing of general government as defined in the European system of accounts (ESA 2010). The government debt is defined as the total consolidated gross debt at nominal value in the following categories of government liabilities: currency and deposits, securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives, and loans.

Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 on the application of the Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community, requires the Member States to send Eurostat data concerning the EDP twice a year (end of March and end of September). These data are sent in uniform tables. These tables have been designed with a view to providing a consistent framework for reporting deficits and changes in debt, albeit with a link to national fiscal aggregates.

Council Regulation (EC) No 679/2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 as regards the quality of statistical data reinforces Eurostat's powers to monitor data notified by the Member States.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 220/2014 of 7 March 2014 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 incorporates references to the European system of national and regional accounts (ESA2010) into the EDF notification as of 1 September 2014.

Government finance statistics

The National Bank of Belgium has traditionally published data on the general government sectors in a specific chapter of the Statistical Bulletin, and the tables are also included in the Public Finance domain of Belgostat Online. Besides the national accounts data for the general government sectors, the tables give the consolidated gross debt of the different sub-sectors as well as official federal Treasury data.

International Statistics

The last few years have seen major developments in government finance statistics, mainly at the instigation of the European authorities in response to requirements voiced by users for a detailed statistical system in the field of public finance. In order to disseminate these data, the European Commission (Eurostat) and the European Central Bank - have developed websites that are accessible to the general public. These distribution media give access to data from the countries of the European Union and the Economic and Monetary Union, to the relevant methodological manuals, and to descriptions of the sources and methods used by the different Member States.

In addition, the Belgian public authorities are committed to respecting the standards set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the publication of macroeconomic statistics (Special Data Dissemination Standard). The statistics are published according to a precise timetable and information about their content and their composition can be accessed. The data and metadata published relate to the national economy and relations with foreign countries. A section is devoted to public finance statistics.

At last, the Council Directive 2011/85/EU of 8 November 2011 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States requires Member States to publish on a regular basis data on government finance according to the definition of the government sector of the ESA.

Data

Publications

- National Accounts (ESA2010) - Non-Financial Accounts    
- Annual publication National Accounts - accounts of government Press release Publications
- Detailed accounts and tables Press release Publications
- Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP)    
  - Latest EDP notification tables   Publication
  - Data on government intervention during the financial crisis crisis   Publication
  - Historical data   Publications
- Public finance statistics    
  - Statistical Bulletin (Chapter 11 Public Finances)   Publications
  - Statistical Bulletin - Monthly update   Publication

Figures

 -National Accounts (ESA2010) - Non-Financial Accounts
  - Annual accounts
  - Quarterly accounts
- National Accounts - Public finance statistics
  - Financial account
  - Balance sheet
- Statistics on public finances

Related websites

- Eurostat: Government finance statistics
- ECB: Government finance statistics
- SDDS: Fiscal sector
- FPS Budget: Directive 2011/85/EU on the Six Pack: (French - Dutch)

Methodology

National accounts

The European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 2010) has replaced the old ESA 95 as the reference methodology for compiling the Belgian national accounts. The ESA 2010 was introduced by Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 and must be applied in all Member States as of September 2014.

Non-financial accounts

When the national accounts are compiled, as a global statistic, several classifications are taken into consideration. Dutch, French.

Financial accounts

  • Methodological overview of Belgium's financial accounts (June 2007) (pdf) (Dutch - French)

Excessive deficit procedure (EDP)

Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 requires the Member States to send Eurostat inventories describing the sources and methods used to calculate the data supplied: Belgium’s EDP inventory and the list of units included under general government (Dutch or French).

NATIONAL ACCOUNTS INSTITUTE OPINIONS

Regarding the publication of Opinions on the statistical treatment of particular operations in response to calls from government authorities, the Board of the NAI has decided to adopt the same approach as Eurostat and publish the Opinions it has given (Dutch or French) from 30 March 2007 onwards on its website.

Contacts

Non-financial accounts of general government

Financial accounts of general government