Belgium’s national accounts are compiled in accordance with the definitions of the "European System of National and Regional Accounts 1995" (ESA 1995). The introduction of the ESA 1995 prompted Belgium to adopt a totally different approach to its national accounts. As well as tapping new statistical sources, both administrative data and surveys, Belgium put much effort into developing an exhaustive business register. That effort has now established the basis for coherent statistical information which guarantees an exhaustive estimate of the national accounts and substantially enhances their quality.
- The quarterly accounts are diffused in different stages. A first flash estimate of the economic growth is published 30 days after the end of each quarter. This figure is re-estimated 70 days after the end of the quarter and is diffused on the website of the Bank together with detailed statistics on the composition of the gross domestic product (value added, expenditure, income) and on the labour market. 120 days after the end of the quarter, the final and complete estimate of the principal aggregates of the economy is published, at the same time as the general government accounts. A selection of statistics based on the quarterly accounts of the institutional sectors is published 105 days after the end of the quarter. This publication contains some key indicators such as saving rate of households as well as the general government quarterly accounts.
- In April following the end of the year under review, a first estimate of the annual national accounts is published. This estimate is calculated on the basis of the quarterly accounts. These aggregates are provisional figures since most of the basic data are not yet available in full.
- More final figures are provided in the detailed accounts and tables which are published in mid-July following the year under review. They include the tables by branch of activity (production and generation of income account, major expenditure components, investments and employment). The institutional sector accounts are published at the end of September. Afterwards, the detailed supply and use tables and the satellite account for non-profit institutions are diffused.
- The general government accounts are published two times a year. A first estimate is diffused at the end of March in the form of tables with the principal receipts and expenditure of the general government. The second estimate presents the detailed accounts, which are integrated in the publication of the sector accounts. This second estimate is aligned with the data that are transmitted at the end of September as part of the excessive deficit procedure (EDP).
- For long-term economic research, historical series for the period 1970-1995 are available on Belgostat.
- The regional accounts are published at the end of the year and contain the aggregates by branch of activity and the household income accounts for the regions, the provinces and the districts. The aggregates by branch of activity include a regional breakdown of gross value added, compensation of employees, total employment and gross fixed capital formation. The household income accounts are subdivided into the allocation of primary income account, the secondary distribution of income account and the disposable income per capita.
Since 1999, the "European System of National and Regional Accounts 1995" (ESA 1995) has assumed the role of the ESA 1979 as the reference methodology for compiling the Belgian national accounts. The ESA 1995 was introduced by Council Regulation 2223/96/EC of 25 June 1996, and stipulates that all Member States must comply with it from the 1998 reference year.
A more detailed description of the calculation method for gross domestic product and gross national income can be found, together with sample figures, in the following document.
Method of calculation for gross domestic product and gross national income according to ESA 1995 at current prices (pdf - 2 MB)
The following publications contain a brief account of the methodology used. Any changes in the methodology used are also mentioned in the periodic statistical publications.
Classifications facilitate the international comparison of statistics because they reflect the arrangements made for the systematic and structured classification of the phenomena mapped by statistics. Moreover, they also enable meaningful comparison of a variety of statistics.
When drawing up the national accounts, as the umbrella statistics, a number of classifications are used, of which the most important are listed below: