Quarterly government debt (gov_10q_ggdebt)

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

ESTAT Unit D1: Excessive deficit procedure, methodology and GFS

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 22/07/2020
2.2. Metadata last posted 22/07/2020
2.3. Metadata last update 22/07/2020

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

'Quarterly government debt' is defined as the total gross debt at nominal value outstanding at the end of each quarter for the general government sector (ref. Regulation  (EU) No 549/2013, Annex B transmission programme, definition of general government sector ESA 2010 §2.111).

Data are measured in million Euro, million of national currency units, percentage of GDP and percentage of total consolidated debt.

Data cover EU Member States, United Kingdom and Norway.

Quarterly data on government debt is provided according to the provisions of the European System of Accounts ESA 2010 (Regulation (EU) No 549/2013).

Data is transmitted by national authorities (National Statistical Institutes, National Central Banks or Ministries of Finance).

3.2. Classification system

ESA2010 standards are used as regards the coverage of financial instruments. Quarterly general government gross debt follows the definition of Maastricht debt as regards valuation - data is at face value.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Data covers the general government sector as defined in ESA 2010, §2.111, as well as its subsectors: central government, state government (where applicable), local government and social security funds (where applicable). For a definition of the subsectors of general government, please refer to ESA2010, §2.112.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

General government debt is one of the convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty used for monitoring the economic situation of a Member State. The Maastricht debt is defined as the debt at the end of the year. In order to follow the latest trends, Member States are required to provide debt data on a quarterly basis.

'Quarterly government debt' is defined as the total gross debt at face value outstanding at the end of each quarter for the general government sector and its subesctors.

Member States provide a breakdown of the general government debt using ESA 2010 definitions:

  • by instrument; The main instruments are: currency and deposits (AF.2) with further breakdowns into currency (AF.21) and deposits (AF.22, AF.29), debt securities (AF.3) with a breakdown into short-term (AF.31) and long-term (AF.32) debt securities, and loans (AF.4) with a breakdown into short-term loans (AF.41) and long-term loans (AF.42),
  • by government sector: central government (S.1311), state government (S.1312), local government (S.1313), social security funds (S.1314).

The tables contain debt figures expressed in national currency, converted into euro, and as a percentage of the GDP and of the total consolidated debt for the Member State.

3.5. Statistical unit

Not available.

3.6. Statistical population

Not available.

3.7. Reference area

EU and euro area aggregates, EU Member States, United Kingdom and Norway.

The Regulation applies to EU Member States. Accession countries and EEA countries may provide data on a voluntary basis.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data starts from the first quarter of 2000, however the lengths of series vary according to country and instrument.

3.9. Base period

Not available.

4. Unit of measure Top

Data is measured in million Euro, million of national currency units and in percentage of GDP and of total consolidated debt.

5. Reference Period Top

The quarterly general government debt refers to the debt at the end of each quarter. For non euro area Member States, the debt expressed in euro is converted using the exchange rate at the last working day of the quarter.

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

National accounts are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA2010) adopted in the form of a EU Regulation (EU) No 549/2013, dated 21 May 2013.

Quarterly government debt data is compiled with reference to the ESA2010 Regulation.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not available.

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

Not available.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

The Eurostat release calendar is available at https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/news/news-releases.

8.2. Release calendar access

The access to the release calendar is public.

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.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


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

A quarterly news release on general government debt is available at  


This is complemented by articles on Statistics Explained and the quarterly summary GFS tables as available on Statistics Explained and the dedicated section on the Eurostat website.


10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Please consult free data online.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data online.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not available.

10.5. Dissemination format - other


10.6. Documentation on methodology

The ESA2010 methodology is referred to EU Regulation No 549/2013.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Not available.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

A compliance monitoring has been carried out during 2012, with good results.

Moreover, quarterly government debt has been the subject of an internal Eurostat rolling review, with very good results.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Timeliness and punctuality of the data are very good. Moreover, data are comparable and consistent for all European Union countries due to the use of ESA2010 concepts.

Data are in general entirely consistent with data notified under the Excessive Deficit Procedure.

Internal consistency and plausibility as well as consistency with other datasets such as quarterly financial accounts for general government and EDP data is verified prior to validation.

Due to consistency with EDP data, quarterly government debt can be considered to benefit from the additional verification and quality assurance processes in place for EDP data.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Not available.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Not available.

12.3. Completeness

All data required by the regulation is provided to Eurostat.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Not available.

13.2. Sampling error

Not available.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not available.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Data is transmitted by Member States to Eurostat within three months after the end of the quarter to which it refers to.

14.2. Punctuality

All countries send data by the deadline of t+3 months after the end of reference quarter.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Data are fully comparable across countries.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Data are fully comparable along time.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

National data may be available from official national sources as well.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Full coherence.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Major changes in methodology may occur as a result of EU legislation or Eurostat decisions (following a consultation procedure with Member States), and announced in the Official Journal of the European Union or on Eurostat website.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Revisions may be done with each new data transmission every quarter.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Data are transmitted by national statistical authorities (National Statistical Institutes, National Central Banks or Ministries of Finance). The type of survey used is a census.

The countries provide a breakdown of the general government debt using ESA2010 definitions:

  • by instrument: currency and deposits (AF.2, currency AF.21, deposits AF.22, AF.29), debt securities (AF.3, short-term AF.31, long-term AF.32) and loans (AF.4, short-term AF.41, long-term AF.42),
  • by general government sector: central government (S.1311), state government (S.1312), local government (S.1313) and social security funds (S.1314).

The tables contain debt figures expressed in national currency, converted into euro, and as a percentage of the GDP and of the total consolidated debt for the Member State.

18.2. Frequency of data collection


18.3. Data collection

The collection of the data is carried out with the use of the relevant reporting table of the ESA2010 transmission programme (Table 2800  - Quarterly government debt) and an additional questionaire (Table 2899 - Intergovernmental lending), completed by national statistical authorities.

Once data is compiled by national statistical authorities, it is transmitted in the reporting format via eDAMIS to Eurostat.

18.4. Data validation

The consistency of aggregated data with its subcomponents is verified and validated before publication. Debt at the end of the fourth quarter of each year is validated against annual data provided for the EU excessive deficit procedure. Additional verifications are undertaken for consolidation, general plausibility as well as comparison with other data sets.

18.5. Data compilation

The data represents stock of quarterly government debt (and its components currency and deposits, debt securities and loans) at face value outstanding at the end of the quarter.

For EU and euro area aggregates, the quarterly debt for each Member States is converted into Euro using the exchange rates at the end of the quarter.

Due to the involvement of EU governments in financial assistance to some Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) is also published. For the purpose of proper consolidation of general government debt and to provide users with information, Eurostat publishes data on government loans to other EU governments and these loans have been deducted from euro area and EU debt starting from the first quarter of 2009.

The valuation basis is the stock of loans at nominal value outstanding at end of each quarter. From the first quarter of 2011 onwards, the bilateral intergovernmental lending figures relate mainly to lending to Greece, Ireland and Portugal and include loans made by the European Financial Stability Facility (see Eurostat decision regarding EFSF: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/product?code=2-27012011-AP&mode=view&language=en).

18.6. Adjustment

Data is not adjusted.

19. Comment Top

The first quarter of 2020 is the quarter in which the Member States began to introduce COVID-19 containment measures. The impact on Member States’ financing needs and subsequent effects on the general government gross debt are expected to materialise fully in the coming quarters. The main reasons for this delayed impact are the existence of time lags between the legislated proposals for policy measures and their implementation as well as policies to keep fixed debt issuance schedules in the short-term. 

All quarterly government finance statistics data for the first quarter of 2020 has been labelled provisional, due to an increased likelihood of future revisions. Some Member States have reported minor increases in adjustments undertaken in relation to coverage.

Country specific metadata for 2020Q1 is available in the metadata file for quarterly non-financial accounts for general government.

Greece: 2000-2005: The revised fiscal data for the years 1995-2005 have been compiled by EL.STAT in fulfilment of the obligation imposed by Regulation ESA 2010 (549/2013) and with the support of Eurostat. Eurostat is releasing 1995-2005 data in line with the Code of Practice and in recognition of the large progresses made. In addition to the ESA2010 changes, EL.STAT has undertaken a comprehensive review of the ESA95 recording by the inclusion of new information due to updated administrative data sources and by correcting a number of outstanding issues identified in the past. Some further revisions may occur due to an ongoing remaining review of some specific issues.

In the context of the April 2020 EDP Notification, Eurostat has expressed a reservation on the quality of the data reported by Denmark for the year 2019. This is due to the fact that the Danish Statistical Authorities provided significantly incomplete data for that year, which only allowed Eurostat to carry out very limited verification checks. In addition, a considerable statistical discrepancy for 2019 was observed.

The debt to GDP ratio is calculated for each quarter using the sum of GDP for the four last quarters. Quarterly data on GDP are the most recent transmitted by the EU Member States. While quarterly debt figures are consistent with annual debt figures at coinciding publications, differences between quarterly and annual GDP figures can occur. 

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top