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Welcome to Statistics Explained
Statistics Explained, your guide to European statistics.

Statistics Explained is an official Eurostat website presenting all statistical topics in an easily understandable way. Together, the articles make up everyone's encyclopedia of European statistics, completed by a statistical glossary clarifying all terms used and by numerous links to further information and the very latest data and metadata, a portal for occasional and regular users alike.

To find the information you need, use the hierarchical theme tree, the online publications, the categories or the search function (alt-f).

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Updated: Inflation in the euro area

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Euro area annual inflation and its main components, 2004-2014-12-p version 2.png
The data in this article show the most recent annual rates of change for the euro area headline inflation and its main components issued by Eurostat. The figures presented are early estimates of euro area inflation. More ...

Updated: Natural gas market indicators

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Number of main entities bringing gas and their cumulative market share in year 2013.png
This article takes a look at the natural gas markets in the European Union (EU), presenting recent statistical data on the number and activities of companies that either bring natural gas into the country or by indigenous production (IMport and PROduction  = IMPRO) and retail companies across EU Member States, Serbia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). More ...

Updated: Tourism statistics - occupancy rates in hotels and similar establishments

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Net occupancy rates of bed places in hotels and similar establishments, January to September 2014, EU-28 (%).png
This article focuses on the short-term evolution of the net occupancy rates of bed places and bedrooms of hotels and similar accommodation establishments in the European Union (EU) and contains the first publication of data for September 2014. More ...

Updated: Underemployment and potential additional labour force statistics

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Unemployment rate and new supplementary indicators, EU-28, age 15-74, 2008-2014Q3.png
This article reports on three forms of unemployment in the European Union (EU) which are not covered by the ILO definition of unemployment. They are: underemployed part-time workers, jobless persons seeking a job but not immediately available for work and jobless persons available for work but not seeking it. These three groups do not meet all criteria of the ILO unemployment definition i.e. being without work, actively seeking work, and being available for work. More ...

Updated: Structural business statistics overview

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Enterprise size class analysis of employment, EU-28, 2012 (¹) YB15.png
This article presents structural business statistics (SBS); these data describe the structure, main characteristics and performance of economic activities across the European Union (EU). While the statistics presented in this article are generally analysed at the level of NACE sections readers should note that structural business statistics are available at a much more detailed level (several hundred sectors). More ...

Updated: Government finance statistics - quarterly data

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EU-28 and EA-18 quarterly net lending - net borrowing by country, seasonally adjusted data.png
In recent years Eurostat has significantly expanded the range of integrated quarterly data on government finances available, providing a timely and increasingly high quality picture of the evolution of government finances in the European Union (EU). The data presented in this article reflect both non-financial and financial (quarterly non-financial and financial accounts for general government) transactions and cover all European Union (EU-28) countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. This article is based on data transmitted to Eurostat at the end of December 2014 and during January 2015 and includes data coverage of the third quarter of 2014. It is the second ESA 2010 data published for quarterly government finance statistics. More ...

Updated: Electricity market indicators

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Cumulative market share and installed capacity share 2013.png
This article takes a look at electricity markets in the European Union (EU), presenting recent statistical data on the number of electricity generating and retailing companies across EU Member States and Norway, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey. More ...

New: Tourism statistics - expenditure

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Total expenditure by destination, EU-28, 2012, (%).png
This article is part of the Eurostat online publication Tourism trips of Europeans. The publication provides recent statistics on tourism demand in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries. The other articles in this online publication analyse physical flows of tourists. This one adds a monetary dimension by taking a closer look at the expenditure of EU More ...

Today's article


Government finance statistics

Public balance, 2012 and 2013 (¹) (Net borrowing or lending of consolidated general government sector, % of GDP) YB15.png
This article examines how key government finance indicators have developed in the European Union (EU) and the euro area (EA-18). Specifically, it considers public (general government) deficits, general government gross debt, the revenue and expenditure of general government, as well as taxes and social contributions, which are the main sources of government revenue.

These statistics are crucial indicators for determining the health of a Member State’s economy. Under the terms of the EU’s stability and growth pact (SGP), EU Member States pledged to keep their deficits and debt below certain limits: a Member State’s government deficit may not exceed -3 % of its gross domestic product (GDP), while its debt may not exceed 60 % of GDP. If a Member State does not respect these limits, the so-called excessive deficit procedure is triggered. This entails several steps — including the possibility of sanctions — to encourage the Member State concerned to take appropriate measures to rectify the situation. The same deficit and debt limits are also criteria for economic and monetary union (EMU) and hence for joining the euro. Furthermore, the latest revision of the integrated economic and employment guidelines (revised as part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth) includes a guideline to ensure the quality and the sustainability of public finances.

Main statistical findings

In 2013, the government deficit (net borrowing of the consolidated general government sector, as a share of GDP) of both the EU-28 and the euro area (EA-18) decreased compared with 2012, while general government debt increased (both relative to GDP and in absolute terms).

Government deficit

In the EU-28 the government deficit-to-GDP ratio decreased from -4.2 % in 2012 to -3.2 % in 2013 and in the euro area (EA-18) it decreased from -3.6 % to -2.9 %. Luxembourg and Germany registered small government surpluses in 2013. There were 16 EU Member States, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, which recorded deficits in 2013 that were not greater than -3.0 % of GDP (see Figure 1). More ...


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