Environmental protection expenditure accounts (env_ac_epea)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

5 r. Alphonse Weicker - bâtim. Joseph Bech, 2721 Luxembourg

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 11/08/2017
2.2. Metadata last posted 11/08/2017
2.3. Metadata last update 11/08/2017

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Environmental protection expenditure accounts (EPEA) quantify the resources devoted to the environmental protection by resident economic units. EPEA measure the economic resources devoted to all activities and actions which have as their main purpose the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution and of any other degradation of the environment.

Environmental protection expenditure accounts (EPEA) present the data on expenditure for environmental protection in a way that is compatible with national accounts. EPEA is one of the environmental accounts and it is an integrated part of the European environmental economic accounts published by Eurostat.

EPEA datasets consist of country data produced by the Member States, EFTA countries and candidate countries. Estimates at the level of EU28 level are produced by Eurostat on the basis of available data transmitted by Member States and using extrapolation methods in case of missing values.

3.2. Classification system

The datasets use the following dimensions (not all dimensions are relevant in all tables):

1) Environmental economic characteristics: see section 3.4. below.

2) Geopolitical entity (GEO): EU Member States, EFTA Countries, Candidate Countries, Potential Candidate Countries.

3) Classification of environmental protection activities (CEPA). The following categories exist:

CEPA 1 — Protection of ambient air and climate

CEPA 2 — Wastewater management

CEPA 3 — Waste management

CEPA 4 — Protection and remediation of soil, groundwater and surface water

CEPA 5 — Noise and vibration abatement

CEPA 6 — Protection of biodiversity and landscapes

CEPA 7 — Protection against radiation

CEPA 8 — Environmental research and development

CEPA 9 — Other environmental protection activities.

4) Classification of economic activities - NACE rev.2 (NACE_R2): Data are aggregated for publication with special groupings divisions (2-digits of the classification) relevant for EPEA.

5) Sector: Institutional sector as defined in SEEA CF 2012 and ESA2010, with the following groupings: corporations, General government; non-profit institutions serving households, Households, Rest of the world (as beneficiary, or origin, of transfers for environmental protection).

6) Period of time (TIME): Data are annual.

7) Unit (UNIT): Millions of euros, million units of national currency, full-time equivalents (for employment). The full-time equivalent is the number of full-time equivalent jobs, defined as total hours worked divided by average annual hours worked in full-time jobs.

3.3. Coverage - sector

The data set covers the entire national economy as defined in national accounts (ESA 2010, paragraph 2.04). Breakdowns by institutional sectors, economic activity (NACE) and environmental activity (CEPA) are available for certain tables.

The general government and non-profit institutions serving households cover all units classified in sectors S.13 and S.15 in national accounts.

The corporations sector covers all units classified in sectors S.11 and S.12 in national accounts. It includes in particular the market producers of EP services (i.e., the units of the corporations sector whose principal activity is the production of EP services, classified primarily to NACE Rev. 2 divisions 37, 38.1, 38.2 and 39, and units for which production of EP services is a secondary activity). EPEA accounts provide also information on the ancillary activities of corporations other than the specialist producers (see 3.4 below).

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Environmental protection (EP) includes all activities and actions which have as their main purpose the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution and of any other degradation of the environment. Those activities and actions include all measures taken in order to restore the environment after it has been degraded. Activities which, while beneficial to the environment, primarily satisfy the technical needs or the internal requirements for hygiene or safety and security of an enterprise or other institution are excluded from this definition.

The following concepts are presented:

  • National expenditure on environmental protection (NEEP);
  • Gross fixed capital formation and net acquisition of non-financial non-produced assets;
  • Consumption of fixed capital;
  • Final consumption, Intermediate consumption;
  • Exports, Imports;
  • Output, market output, non-market output, ancillary output, related non-EP output;
  • Taxes less subsidies, current and capital transfers, earmarked taxes;
  • Compensation of employees, Employment;
  • Net operating surplus.

A detailed explanation is found in the annex at the bottom of this page.

A complete methodological explanation can be found in the EPEA guidelines (to be published soon), ESA2010, SEEA CF 2012 (chapter 4).

3.5. Statistical unit

EPEA uses the same statistical units as national accounts. The building block is the institutional unit (ESA 2010, paragraph 2.12), which are grouped in institutional sectors.

3.6. Statistical population

Environmental protection expenditure is the economic resources devoted by resident units to environmental protection. Resident units are defined as in ESA 2010 and SEEA CF 2012. Therefore environmental protection expenditure accounts have the same system boundaries as national accounts.

3.7. Reference area

EU member states, EFTA countries, EU candidate and accession countries (limited to data availability).

Eurostat produces estimates at the EU28 level for the following variables:

- Output of EP services by general government;

- Market output of EP services by specialist producers;

- Ancillary EP output by corporations other than specialist producers;

- Gross fixed capital formation plus net acquisition of non-produced non-financial assets for the production of EP services by each sector;

- Final consumption of EP services by general government;

- Final consumption of EP services by households;

- Intermediate consumption of EP services by specialist producers.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Under Regulation on European environmental economic accounts, the reporting of data for the reference period 2014-onwards is mandatory.

Data for the period prior to 2014 are reported on a voluntary basis.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

Millions of euros, million units of national currency, full-time equivalents (for employment).

5. Reference Period Top

The data refer to the calendar year.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

EPEA are legally covered by Regulation (EC) No. 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts (EEEA). EEEA currently include six modules (air emissions accounts, environmentally related taxes by economic activity, economy-wide material flow accounts, environmental protection expenditure accounts, environmental goods and services sector accounts, and physical energy flow accounts).

EEEA follow the internationally agreed concepts and definitions set out in the System of Environmental Economic Accounting 2012 – Central Framework. The SEEA CF is the international standard for environmental-economic accounting. It provides a multi-purpose conceptual framework for a systematic description and measurement of interactions between the environment and the economy.

EEEA present environmental information in a way that is fully compatible with macroeconomic statistics (National Accounts).

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Confidential data are flagged "confidential" and not published.

Aggregates compiled based on confidential data respect Eurostat confidentiality rules.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Data are not bound by an advance release calendar.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

Data are disseminated simultaneously to all interested parties through a database update and on Eurostat's website.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Data are disseminated annually.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Not available.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Eurostat publishes a 'Statistics Explained' article once a year after the update of EPEA data based on the results of the most recent data collection.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

The online database is available free of charge here:


10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

EPEA handbook can be downloaded from the Eurostat's website.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Under Regulation EU N° 691/2011, article 7, the Member States and EFTA countries will be obliged to transmit alongside their returns to EPEA questionnaire (starting from the end-2017) quality reports.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Eurostat published in 2017 the EPEA Handbook to assist countries in the compilation of EPEA data, ensuring the comparability of the concepts, compilation methods and reporting convention across the EU Member States.

An extensive validation procedure for country EPEA returns is in place at Eurostat. This procedure checks accuracy, adherence to the reporting rules and plausibility of the reported data, including coherence of the EPEA accounts and consistency of data over time.

For the purpose of compilation of the EU aggregates, Eurostat also gap-fills the missing statistical information, based on data from other statistical domains, which provides additional insights into plausibility of EPEA data (see also point 18.5).

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Validation procedures, estimation of missing statistical data (gap-filling) are in place. The Working Group on Monetary environmental statistics and accounts, encompassing representatives of all Member States, Eurostat and other stakeholders, discusses quality improvements.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Environmental protection expenditure accounts framework has been designed to measure the effort made by the society for the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution and of any other degradation of the environment. Those accounts contribute directly or indirectly to the Union's policy priorities on environmental protection, resource management and green growth by providing important information on the production and the use of environmental protection services.

The 7th Environmental Action Programme, priority objective 6 'To secure investment for environment and climate policy and address environmental externalities' calls, among other things, to ensure that by 2020 environment and climate policy objectives are achieved in a cost-effective way and are supported by adequate finance; public and private sector funding for environment and climate-related expenditure is increased. Moreover, one of the means to ensure the goals of the 7th Environmental Action Plan is represented by ‘more and wiser investment for environment and climate policy’.

The Commission Staff Working document Progress on 'GDP and beyond' actions calls for top-level indicators on environmental protection and quality-of-life indicators are being developed (Action 1).

Environmental protection expenditure data are also used in the process of compilation the Environmental Goods and Services Sector (EGSS) accounts providing indicators relevant to policy initiatives about the green economy and green jobs.

The policy context is set here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/environment/overview/policy-context

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

There are no systematic studies of user satisfaction. Eurostat has regular hearings with European policymakers and contacts with the research community and other stakeholders to monitor the relevance of the statistics produced and identify new priorities.

12.3. Completeness

Completeness of voluntary returns to Eurostat's EPEA questionnaire varies across countries. Only starting from 2017, the reporting of EPEA data will be mandatory under Regulation (EU) N° 691/2011. A complete dataset in accordance with the Regulation requirements should be provided by end of December 2017 by the countries for 2014 and 2015, and gradually longer time series will be available.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy is considered to be good. The data use standard international definitions, the data sources used are official statistics.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Every year Member States transmit data to Eurostat within 24 months of the end of the reference year. Eurostat publishes the data once the validation process has been completed: in July 2017 for data transmitted by responding countries between December 2016 and March 2017 in reply to the 2016 EPEA data collection).

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The comparability across countries is good due to clear statistical concepts and definitions.

15.2. Comparability - over time

The comparability over time is good due to clear statistical concepts and definitions.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

The data are coherent with the core national accounts and environmental accounts.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The internal coherence is very high, ensured by the accounting framework.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Every year Eurostat collects the data for the reference period 2006-onwards and publishes the complete time series available for a given country, which may lead to revisions of data previously published. In principle data are not revised in between annual releases. 

17.2. Data revision - practice

Every year the EPEA questionnaire requests the entire time series back to 2006. Countries report the reference year and they may also revise the data for previous years. Revisions can be due to changes in methodology or updates of source data that are used for the compilation.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The main data sources are national accounts (e.g. supply-use tables and COFOG data), structural business statistics, specific surveys for EPEA, balance of payments, household budget surveys.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Data are collected annually.

18.3. Data collection

The scope and frequency of EPEA data collection is set out under Regulation (EC) No. 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts.

EPEA questionnaire seeks also more detailed information on breakdowns by environmental activity and a number of additional variables that are reported on a voluntary basis.

18.4. Data validation

Eurostat undertakes a number of standard accuracy and plausibility checks and discusses the identified issues with the data compilers. The validation process is duly documented in country validation reports. Apart from that, Eurostat carries out additional quality controls in its internal database after the data uploading. Finally, in the procedure of gap-filling the missing information, the completeness of data and its coherence with data from related statistical fields is re-examined.
More about data validation can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/data-validation and in point 11.1.

18.5. Data compilation

EPEA data collection is voluntary until the end of 2017.

Given that some Member States report incomplete data (in terms of years, sectors or variables covered) and a few Member States do not report any EPEA data, Eurostat fills the gaps for missing data and produces estimates of EU aggregates by summing up the gap-filled country data. Eurostat estimates missing data for a specific year taking into account figures reported in the recent past by the Member States, auxiliary variables in national accounts or government finance statistics as well as data reported by other Member States that year.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable.

19. Comment Top

No further comment.

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
Abridged explanation of the characteristics