Methodology

The production of the national accounts is governed by a set of accounting rules and good practices defined at international level.

In September 2014 the new European standard, the “European system of national and regional accounts - ESA 2010”, came into force for the calculation of the national accounts. The ESA 2010 thus replaced the ESA 1995 as the reference methodology. While it adopted its predecessor’s general principles and foundations, the ESA 2010 provided the opportunity to introduce some adjustments to tailor the system more closely to the new economic environment and to respond better to the changes that economies have undergone during the past twenty years.

One section is devoted more generally to the ESA 2010.

As a rule, each statistical publication is accompanied by a summary of the methodological changes made in successive editions.

This section reviews for each statistical field the methodological notes marking the successive editions containing the statistical data. The latest ones relate to the reference framework introduced by the ESA 2010. The oldest methodological notes were produced under the compulsory rules of the ESA 1995.

The EU Member States are also required to supply what are known as “inventories of sources and methods”. These much more detailed documents relate to specific statistical products.  The GNI inventory, devoted to the sources and methods used to estimate gross national income, is an essential document as it enables Eurostat to assess good practice for the estimate of GNI, used in particular to determine the Member States’ contributions to the EU budget.

Finally, the national accounts are accompanied by numerous nomenclatures. A list of the classifications is also available at the end of this section.

Methodological notes

ESA 2010

ESA 1995

Classifications

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: