Government contingent liabilities and potential obligations (gov_cl)

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

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

Unit D1 – EDP Methodology

1.5. Contact mail address

L-2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 30/01/2020
2.2. Metadata last posted 30/01/2020
2.3. Metadata last update 30/01/2020


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The data on contingent liabilities and potential obligations of government are collected in the context of the Enhanced Economic Governance package (the "six-pack") adopted in 2011. In particular, Council Directive 2011/85 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States requires the Member States to publish relevant information on contingent liabilities with potentially large impacts on public budgets, including government guarantees, non-performing loans, and liabilities stemming from the operation of public corporations, including the extent thereof.

The liabilities are called “contingent” in the sense that they are by nature only potential and not actual liabilities and can materialise as actual government liabilities only if certain specific conditions prevail. Non-performing loans could imply a potential loss for government if these loans were not repaid by their original debtor. This new data collection represents a step towards further transparency of public finances in the EU by giving a more comprehensive picture of EU Member States’ financial positions.

It is to be underlined that contingent liabilities are not part of the general government (Maastricht) debt as defined in the Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 of 25 May 2009 on the application of the Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community.

Eurostat collects and publishes the following indicators: government guarantees, liabilities related to public-private partnerships recorded off-balance sheet of government, liabilities of government controlled entities classified outside general government (public corporations) and non-performing loans (government assets).

Regarding government controlled entities, it should be mentioned that this refers to  government controlled units, not classified in general government, and which are controlled, directly or indirectly (through other public units), by government. In cases when the government share in a corporation is lower than 50% and government does not have control over an entity, the corporation is not considered as controlled by government. Regarding the control criteria, according to ESA 2010 paragraph 20.18: “Control over an entity is the ability to determine the general policy or programme of that entity (…)”. The criteria to be used for corporations are indicated in ESA 2010 paragraphs 2.38 and further detailed in paragraph 20.309. ESA 2010 paragraph 2.38 specifies that:

“General government secures control over a corpo­ration as a result of special legislation, decree or reg­ulation which empowers the government to deter­mine corporate policy.

The following indicators are the main factors to consider in deciding whether a corporation is controlled by government:

(a) government ownership of the majority of the voting interest;

(b) government control of the board or governing body;

(c) government control of the appointment and removal of key personnel;

(d) government control of key committees in the entity;

(e) government possession of a golden share;

(f) special regulations;

(g) government as a dominant customer;

(h) borrowing from government.

A single indicator may be sufficient to establish control, but, in other cases, a number of separate indicators may collectively indicate control.”

3.2. Classification system

The classification system is defined in ESA 2010: classification of institutional sectors and classification of transactions.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Data covers general government sector (S.13) and its sub-sectors.

 

Data for government guarantees are consolidated. Guarantees provided only to units classified outside general government are to be reported.

 

Data for non-performing loans are consolidated for the general government. They refer to the non-performing loans provided by units included into general government (including all the institutional units which are part of the central, state and local government and social security funds) towards other units which are classified outside general government. Data provided for particular sub-sectors of the general government might be not consolidated.

 

For off-balance sheet PPPs, consolidation is not applicable. 

 

For liabilities of public corporations, data covers public corporations classified in the sectors of non-financial corporations (S.11), financial corporations (S.12), non-profit institutions serving households (S.15) and the rest of world (S.2) but which are controlled by the general government sector and with liabilities exceeding 0.01% of GDP. It should be noted that the data refer only to public corporations classified outside general government. The liabilities of public corporations classified inside general government are fully reflected in the government accounts.

 

It should be noted that the data reported for liabilities of public corporations classified outside general government is not consolidated at group level, which means that part of the debt of these units could be towards entities in the same company group, which could imply that some liabilities are reported twice. However, the debt between units in the same group is not identifiable from the data reported due to the fact that, as agreed with the Member States in the framework of the 2012 Task Force, the data should be provided to Eurostat for each individual unit and not for accounts at the level of the consolidated group.

In the context of the first publication of data on liabilities of government-controlled entities in February 2015, some concerns were raised regarding a possible overestimation of the liabilities due to non-consolidation. Therefore, Eurostat launched a pilot project in order to investigate the availability of consolidated data between public parent companies and their subsidiaries (intragroup consolidation) in individual Member States. Eurostat invited Member States to provide to Eurostat, on voluntary basis, consolidated group accounts in order to assess the impact of consolidation on the figures published. Several countries are providing intragroup consolidated figures, in addition to the non-consolidated data. These consolidated data can be extracted from the same database using the dimension "gov_cl_liab" CO_NCO (Consolidated-non-consolidated). The analyses of the two sets of data (consolidated versus unconsolidated) corresponding to the same reference year show that for some of the countries there is no substantial impact due to non-consolidation while for some others countries there is a clear overestimation of the liabilities at non-consolidated level. Improvements in consolidated-vs.-unconsolidated data coverage will continue in the future, with more countries being asked to participate in this exercise.

 

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The Council Directive 2011/85 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States requires the Member States to publish relevant information on contingent liabilities with potentially large impacts on public budgets, including government guarantees, non-performing loans, and liabilities stemming from the operation of public corporations, including the extent thereof. The collection and publication of data was agreed with the EU Member States in the Task Force on the implications of the Directive on the collection and dissemination of fiscal data. They are specified in the Eurostat Decision of 22 July 2013 on the 'Supplement on contingent liabilities and potential obligations to the EDP related questionnaire".

 

Government guarantees

Guarantees are arrangements whereby the guarantor undertakes to a lender that if a borrower defaults, the guarantor will make good the loss the lender would otherwise suffer.

One-off guarantees: A one-off guarantee is defined as individual, and guarantors are not able to make a reliable estimate of the risk of calls. One-off guarantees are linked to debt instruments (e.g. loans, bonds). Data refer to the total stock of debt guaranteed by government units.

Standardised guarantees: Standardised guarantees are guarantees that are issued in large numbers, usually for fairly small amounts, along identical lines. There are three parties involved in these arrangements: the borrower, the lender and the guarantor. Either the borrower or the lender may contract with the guarantor to repay the lender if the borrower defaults. It is not possible to estimate precisely the risk of each loan being in default but it is possible to estimate how many, out of a large number of such loans, will default. Examples are mortgage loan guarantees, student loan guarantees, etc. Data refer to the total stock of assets covered by the standardised guarantees. While the provisions for standardised guarantees are considered a liability in the ESA2010 framework, the total stock of assets covered by standardised guarantees is not.

 

Data on guarantees do not include: 1) Government guarantees issued within the guarantee mechanism under the Framework Agreement of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM); 2) Derivative-type guarantees meeting the ESA2010 definition of a financial derivative; 3) Deposit insurance guarantees and comparable schemes; 4) Government guarantees issued on events which occurrence is very difficult to cover via commercial insurance (earth quakes, large scale flooding, etc).

 

Other relevant information: 1) Guarantees provided only to units classified outside general government are reported. 2) Stocks of guaranteed debt do not include stocks of debt already assumed by government, as recorded in ESA accounts.

 

Liabilities reacted to public-private partnerships (PPPs) recorded off-balance sheet of government

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are complex, long-term contracts between two units, one of which is normally a corporation (or a group of corporations, private or public) called the operator or partner, and the other normally a government unit called the grantor. PPPs involve a significant capital expenditure to create or renovate fixed assets by the corporation, which then operates and manages the assets to produce and deliver services either to the government unit or to the general public on behalf of the public unit. Public-private partnership recorded off-balance sheet of government means that the assets are not considered as economically owned by government and the gross-fixed capital formation is not recorded as an expenditure of government at the moment it is incurred. Data refer to the public-private partnerships in the as defined by ESA 2010 and according to implementation guidance of MGDD.

 

Total outstanding liabilities related to PPPs recorded off-balance sheet of government are expressed in the adjusted capital value. It is an initial contractual capital value that is progressively reduced over time by the amount of the "economic depreciation" which is calculated on the basis of estimates or actual data. The adjusted capital value reflects the current value of the asset at the time of reporting. The amount is deemed to reflect the gross fixed capital formation and debt impact in case that government would have to take over the assets during the life of the contract.

 

Liabilities of government controlled entities (public corporations) classified outside general government

Liabilities of government controlled entities classified outside general government (public corporations) are defined as the stock of liabilities at the end of the year, based on the business accounts of corporations. Those government controlled entities are classified outside general government due to their behaviour as market units.

 

Non-performing loans of general government (government assets)

A loan is non-performing when payments of interest or principal are past due by 90 days or more, or interest payments equal to 90 days or more have been capitalized, refinanced, or delayed by agreement, or payments are less than 90 days overdue, but there are other good reasons (such as a debtor filing for bankruptcy) to doubt that payments will be made in full (ESA 2010, § 7.101).

 

It is to be underlined that the above indicators have a heterogeneous nature and represent different types of potential impact on public finance. Additionally, in some cases, the same fiscal risk might be reflected by two or more indicators. For instance, when a government guarantees the liability of a government controlled entity classified outside general government, the potential risks are covered both by data presented for 'Guarantees' and 'Liabilities of government controlled entities classified outside general government'. Therefore, evaluating the total risk for public finance by summing up the indicators could overestimate the potential impact.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical unit is an institutional unit as defined in ESA 2010. The institutional units are grouped to general government sector and its sub-sectors.

3.6. Statistical population

For government guarantees, off-balance PPPs and non-performing loans: data covers the general government sector and its sub-sectors.

For liabilities of public corporations data covers public corporations classified in the sectors of non-financial corporations (S.11), financial corporations (S.12), non-profit institutions serving households (S.15) and rest of world (S.2) but which are controlled by the general government sector.

3.7. Reference area

EU Member States

3.8. Coverage - Time

The annual data collection covers four years (T-1, T-2, T-3 and T-4).

The time series is being gradually build-up.

In the case of the liabilities of public corporations, data covers the year T-1 or year T-2, if data for T-1 is not available. 

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.


4. Unit of measure Top

National currency and percentage of GDP.


5. Reference Period Top

The reference period is calendar year.


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

Data contingent liabilities and potential obligations are collected in the context of the Enhanced Economic Governance package (the "six-pack") adopted in 2011 and in particular the provisions of Council Directive 2011/85 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States.  

 

The collection and publication of data has been agreed with the EU Member States in the Task Force on the implications of the Directive on the collection and dissemination of fiscal data. It was further specified in the Eurostat Decision of 22 July 2013 on the 'Supplement on contingent liabilities and potential obligations to the EDP related questionnaire".

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Data may be circulated within the European Institutions, especially the European Commission and the European Council ahead of release.


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

Data are treated as confidential after reporting, during the validation process, until the news release.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Data are published in the Eurostat's news release and the Statistics Database once a year (at appox.T+13 months). The precise date of data release is disseminated on Eurostat's website.

8.2. Release calendar access

The dissemination calendar is released at Eurostat's website.

8.3. Release policy - user access

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

Data for EU countries: Data may be circulated within the European Institutions, especially the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Council ahead of release. Member States release their national data beforehand (at T+12).

 

Additionally, data on contingent liabilities are also published at national level by Member States (see the document "Publication of data related to the Articles 3(2) and 14(3) of the Directive 2011/85 at national level" on Eurostat website dedicated to Contingent Liabilities). Nevertheless, for a few countries, there are sometimes differences between the data published at national and European level. These discrepancies are due to the fact different methodologies are used in the compilation. For example Denmark and Ireland are including in the total amount of liabilities of public corporation also the liabilities of the National Central Bank, which is excluded from the data published by Eurostat. Therefore the amounts published at national level are higher than those published at European level. For Slovakia and Estonia, the differences between the figures published by Eurostat and those published by the Ministry of Finance are mainly due to the inclusion in the calculation of the national publication of liabilities which are not part of the Maastricht debt.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Annual.


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

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Not applicable.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult on-line dedicated database.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The collection and publication of data has been agreed with the EU Member States in the Task Force on the implications of the Directive on the collection and dissemination of fiscal data. It was supplemented by the Eurostat Decision of 22 July 2013 on the 'Supplement on contingent liabilities and potential obligations to the EDP related questionnaire".

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Not applicable.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Internal data consistency is ensured. The validation process consists of arithmetic and plausibility checks as well as, where relevant, checks on consistency with information given during the latest data provided during the Excessive Deficit Procedure Notification and ESA Table 27. In some cases the checks are limited due to the lack of corresponding/ related information.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Not applicable.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Users of the data: the European Commission (for purposes of the Stability and Growth Pact), the Council, the European Parliament, researchers, politicians, etc.

 

The data provide relevant information on contingent liabilities and non-performing loans of government with potentially large impacts on public budgets. They represent an important step towards further transparency of public finances in the EU by aiming at giving a more comprehensive picture of EU Member States’ financial positions. The main purpose of this data collection is to provide additional input to the main user, the European Commission, for its activities in surveying the Stability and Growth Pact.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

User satisfaction is discussed with the main user, DG ECFIN, and potential improvements are investigated during the EDPS Working Group meeting.

12.3. Completeness

For most Member States data are available for all indicators. For non-performing loans, data are not available for Belgium, France and Croatia. In addition, data coverage is not complete for some Member States with missing data for some categories (e.g. standardised guarantees) or some sub-sectors. Please refer to the country specific notes for the detailed information Detailed country specific footnotes.


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

The data should be reported to Eurostat once a year, at T+12 months.

14.2. Punctuality

Member States normally meet the deadlines.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Data are country specific and closely linked to  the economic, financial and legal structure of the country. Nevertheless data coverage is still not fully exhaustive for some Member States, as indicated in the Detailed country specific footnotes.

Aspects should be taken into account when analysing the figures for the liabilities of public corporations. Firstly, data for liabilities of public corporations are not consolidated, which means that part of the liabilities of these units could be towards entities in the same company group and these amounts cannot be identified from the data reported. Secondly, the data collection only refers to liabilities without balancing them with the assets. This aspect is very important in the case of financial institutions, which normally have both significant amounts of assets and debt liabilities. Furthermore, some Member States have more entities controlled by general government and involved in financial services than other, and therefore they report higher liabilities than those where such entities do not exist at all, or are very few. Additionally, for some of the Member States, a large part of the liabilities reported by financial institutions concern deposits held by government controlled banks.

 

It should be also mentioned, that when compiling the liabilities of public corporations, the Member States could choose which concept to use for the reporting, either business accounts or national accounts concepts. When reporting the data following the business accounts definitions, the countries included all the liabilities from the financial statements of the company, including also liabilities related to the item 'other accounts payable' (F8). A majority of countries reported the data for public corporations following the business accounts definitions. Nevertheless, few countries (e.g. Spain Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovakia), reported Maastricht liabilities, notably data on liabilities for items (as defined in ESA 2010): currency and deposits (AF.2), debt securities (AF.3), and loans (AF.4) and excluding the item other accounts payables (AF8). Due to the above mentioned reporting, some additional comparability limits should be also taken into account.

15.2. Comparability - over time

The time series is being gradually built up. For government guarantees, off-balance PPPs and non-performing loans data are revised for the recent years (2015-2018). Historical years (prior to 2015) are revised for some Member States. Not revised data are indicated with flag ' b' in the Eurostat database.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Cross checks with other datasets (EDP Notification, ESA Table 27) are undertaken; in some cases they are limited due to the lack of corresponding/related information.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Internal data consistency is ensured. 


16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Data are revised annually.

17.2. Data revision - practice

The time series is being gradually built up. For government guarantees, off-balance PPPs and non-performing loans data are revised for the recent years (2015-2018). Historical years (prior to 2015) are revised for some Member States.  Not revised data are indicated with flag ' b' in the Eurostat database.Revisions and/ or changes between the two reference years are mainly due to significant improvements in data coverage, updated data sources, error corrections or sector reclassifications.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Data are based on the administrative and other records of general government. Basic data are in national currency.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Once a year.

18.3. Data collection

Data are collected by the relevant reporting authority of the country (by the NSIs or the Ministry of Finance) and then sent to Eurostat.

18.4. Data validation

Eurostat validates data once a year. The validation process consists of arithmetic and plausibility checks as well as, where relevant, checks on consistency with information provided during the latest data provided during the Excessive Deficit Procedure Notification and ESA Table 27.

18.5. Data compilation

Government guarantees: stock of guaranteed debt is reported at nominal value. It does not include stocks of debt already assumed by government, as recorded in ESA2010 accounts. The terminology of indicators related to guarantees follows the terminology (not the recording) of ESA2010. Data refer to the total stock of assets covered by the standardised guarantees. While the provisions for standardised guarantees are considered a liability in the ESA2010 framework, the total stock of assets covered by standardised guarantees is not.

Liabilities related to private-public partnerships (PPPs) recorded off-balance sheet of government are reported at nominal value.

Non-performing loans are reported at nominal value.

For liabilities of public corporations, the Member States could choose which concept to use for the reporting, either business accounts or national accounts concepts. When reporting the data following the business accounts definitions, the countries included all the liabilities from the financial statements of the company, including also liabilities related to the item 'other accounts payable' (F8). The majority of the countries reported the data for the public corporation following the business accounts definitions. Nevertheless, some other countries (as Spain, the Netherlands and Slovakia), reported Maastricht liabilities, notably data on liabilities for items (as defined in ESA 2010): currency and deposits (AF.2), debt securities (AF.3), and loans (AF.4) and excluding item other accounts payables (AF8). Due to the above mentioned reporting, some additional comparability limits should be also taken into account.

Ratios as a percentage of GDP are based on annual GDP data submitted to Eurostat in the EDP notification. GDP is gross domestic product at current market prices, as defined in ESA 2010 (B.1*g).

18.6. Adjustment

No adjustment is conducted.


19. Comment Top

None.


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top
Detailed country specific footnotes