Long-term sustainability of public finances is of increasing concern in the EU countries and is now regularly assessed. However, due to methodological problems and data unavailability, this is not an easy task. Thus, quantitative indicators have to be complemented with qualitative information, to improve the information value of the overall assessment.
This year’s assessment shows that at least nine EU countries still present risks of long-term sustainability and five of them (Belgium, Greece, Italy, Germany and France) have more serious problems. The other four (Portugal, Spain, Netherlands and the UK) face some risks due to medium-term budgetary development or, as is the case for Spain and Portugal, due to uncertainties about the long-term projections of pension expenditures.