In this Enlargement Paper the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs publishes its main results of the April 2006 fiscal notifications presented by the acceding and candidate countries.
All acceding and candidate countries had to submit fiscal notifications to the Commission services by 1 April 2006, in accordance with the commitments made under the preaccession fiscal surveillance procedure. This notification is the sixth such annual exercise, though only the second for Croatia, a candidate country since June 2004, and the first for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a candidate country since December 2005.
The framework of the fiscal notifications is now well known. Countries are more or less familiar with the EU legal and methodological principles for the calculation of general government deficits and debt levels. The presentation of the notification tables and in particular the reconciliation between the national budget balance and the balance used in EU fiscal surveillance is now well understood. Significant efforts have been made to provide figures that comply as much as possible with the methodology and coverage required by the fiscal notifications.
The prospect of accession is a catalyst for reforms in the scope and the management of the national budgets. Budget presentations are being modernised, and national budgets’ coverage of government operations is being made more exhaustive. In particular, there has been a spectacular reduction in the number of off-budget and special funds accounts and operations. Also, the reference to central and general government in EU fiscal surveillance often leads to more systematic monitoring, supervision and controllability of the operations of local authorities and of social security.
(European Economy. Enlargement Papers. 28. June 2006.
Brussels. 42pp. Tab. Ann. Free.)