The Enhanced Economic Governance package (the so-called “six pack” composed of five Regulations and one Directive) was adopted by the European Parliament and Council in November 2011. Among other statistical implications, this package includes legal requirements with implications on the collection and dissemination of fiscal data and statistics. In particular, the Council Directive 2011/85/EU of 8 November 2011 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States is relevant.
This Directive lays down detailed rules concerning the characteristics of the budgetary frameworks of the Member States. These rules are necessary to ensure Member States’ compliance with obligations under the Treaty of Functioning of the European Union regarding the avoidance of excessive government deficits. The Directive lays down rules applicable to specific elements of the budgetary frameworks, in particular:
The reconciliation table is a requirement of Article 3 (2) of Council Directive 85/2011 on requirements for budgetary frameworks by Member States. It shows the methodology of transition between cash-based data and data based on the ESA standard. With the aid of the reconciliation table, transparency, accountability and comparability can be better achieved. This also helps users to grasp the conceptual differences and the transition between monthly data used for national policy purposes and ESA-quarterly data used for the production of national accounts and EU fiscal surveillance.
Administrative sources are used in order to compile government finance statistics. These are the Departmental Accounting System (DAS) from the Treasury Department and the Financial Data Reporting System (FDRS) from the Ministry of Finance. Other ad-hoc information is also requested from the Ministry of Finance. Data from the DAS and FDRS is available on a monthly basis. Government Consolidated Fund cash data is coded in accordance with the ESA 2010 codes.
The outputs of the Council Directive 85/2011 are:
Accuracy and reliability of data
All accounts in the corporate chart of accounts (COA) of DAS are coded in accordance with the requirements of the ESA 2010, and checks with previous years and with the current economic scenario are undertaken.
For any queries or clarifications on the FDRS templates, contact is either made directly with the particular Extra Budgetary Unit (EBU) or with the Financial Management and Monitoring Unit (FMMU) at the Budget Office.
Timeliness and punctuality of data
Fiscal data as required by Council Directive 85/2011 are updated and made available on a monthly and quarterly basis.
Public private partnerships, government guarantees and non-performing loans are updated every October, liabilities of public corporations are updated every January and participation of government in the equity of corporations is updated every December.
Accessibility and clarity of data
Fiscal data is published on the NSO’s website and is available through the ‘Services’ page via Council Directive 85/2011.
Coherence and comparability/consistency of data
All European Union member states follow the same Council Directive but data may be not directly comparable from one country to another as these may have different grouping of ESA classification.
Consistency in ensured with other data submitted in tables found in the ESA 2010 transmission programme.
Data in the ‘Government Finance Monthly’ news release is comparable from 1995 onwards. Prior to year 2008 the unit of measure was the Maltese Lira (Lm) and the conversion rate to euro used was the fixed rate of 0.4293.
Monthly and quarterly fiscal data is comparable from 2014 while ESA 2010 based General Government Sector Accounts is comparable from 2010 onwards. Consolidated Fund data in ESA2010 codes is consistent with the data published in the Government Finance Monthly news release.