Pensions in national accounts (nasa_10_pens)

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

C2: National accounts production

1.5. Contact mail address

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

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 12/12/2018
2.2. Metadata last posted 12/12/2018
2.3. Metadata last update 19/03/2020

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The supplementary table on accrued-to-date  pension entitlements in social insurance (pensions in National Accounts) is compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) and is transmitted by EU Member States and EFTA countries (except Liechtenstein) following the ESA2010 transmission programme (Table 29) established by the Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on the European system of national and regional accounts in the European Union, annexes A and B respectively).

By introducing this table, ESA 2010 added enhanced reporting on pensions, covering both entitlements of pension schemes recorded in the core national accounts, and unfunded "pay-as-you-go" pension schemes managed by general government. The latters' entitlements are excluded from the core national accounts and are considered as contingent liabilities. However, full coverage of all pension schemes in one table provides a complete overview of organisation of pension social insurance in a given country and enhances cross-country analysis of pension entitlements of households.

At the same time, it should be stressed that accrued-to-date pension entitlements in social insurance are not a measure of the sustainability of public finances and not part of government debt.

The European reporting system on age-related expenditure is multifaceted. National accountants focus in this dataset on already earned (accrued-to-date) pension entitlements of current persons employed and current pensioners, whereas the Economic Policy Committee (EPC) is analysing the impact of ageing on European societies from a wider angle. The EPC'S Ageing Report includes estimates for pension entitlements (and related contributions) being accrued in the future.

Data are presented by means of two tables:

1.  "Accrued-to-date pension entitlements in social insurance" (nasa_10_pens1)

The table gives an overview of accumulation of pension entitlements by all types of social insurance pension schemes (defined contribution vs. defined benefit schemes, private vs. general government schemes, core accounts schemes vs. social security schemes) in a given period due to pension contributions, payment of pension benefits and other changes.

2. "Sensitivity analysis of accrued-to-date pension entitlements in general government pension schemes outside of core national accounts" (nasa_10_pens2)

The data on unfunded general government pension schemes outside of core national accounts are based on actuarial calculations. Thus, the results for pension entitlements depend to a large extent on the underlying assumptions. To ensure a consistent approach and cross-country data comparability, actuarial assumptions for these schemes in ESA 2010 Table 29 are aligned with those proposed by the EPC Ageing Working group (AWG), including the discount rate to calculate present value of pension entitlements. Actuarial assumptions are regularly reviewed by the AWG in the framework of 3-yearly Ageing reports.

Analysis shows that the discount rate is the most important parameter that impacts on the resulting value of pension entitlements. Therefore, table 2 shows how the outcome of actuarial calculations varies based on a different choice of discount rate. Three scenarios are presented as follows under SECTOR dimension:

S13_BC – base case scenario with current discount rate 5% in nominal terms (3% in real terms)

S13_SC1 –scenario with discount rate 1 percentage point less than in base case

S13_SC3 –scenario with discount rate 1 percentage point higher than in base case

Data, as far as they are available, are expressed in national currency and millions of euro in current prices.

In line with ESA2010 Transmission programme requirements data series start from 2015 and are to be transmitted on 3-yearly basis. Countries may transmit longer time series or transmit data annually on voluntary basis.

3.2. Classification system

The standard followed is the European System of Accounts 2010 and ESA 2010 data transmission programme. The main categories are the institutional sectors of pension manager, types of pension schemes, stocks and flows.

For a complete review of the classifications used, please refer to:

- ESA 2010 Chapter 23 'Classifications'

- The European System of Accounts 2010 Transmission Programme, Table 29

3.3. Coverage - sector

Data on pensions in social insurance include pension schemes in which participants are obliged, or encouraged by their employers or by general government to take out pension insurance. Such pension schemes have to satisfy one or more of the following conditions:

  1. Participation in the scheme is obligatory either by law or under the terms and conditions of employment of an employee or group of employees;
  2. The scheme is a collective one operated for the benefit of a designated group of workers, whether employees, self-employed or non-employed, participation being restricted to members of that group;
  3. An employer makes a contribution (actual or imputed) to the scheme on behalf of an employee, whether or not the employee also makes a contribution.

Retirement insurance taken out solely on the own initiative of the insured, independently of the employer and of government, is treated as life insurance in national accounts and is not included in the current data set.

Hence, there are two types of pension schemes in social insurance:

  1. Social security pension schemes covering the entire community or large sections of the community that are imposed, controlled and financed by government units;
  2. Other employment related schemes that derive from an employer-employee relationship and does not involve general government for the provision of benefits under social security provisions.

Social insurance pension schemes are classified by sectors as follows:

  • S.1W – Non-general government – combines Corporations, Households and Non-profit institutions serving Households (NPISHs) as pension managers
  • S.13 – General government as pension manager
3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The concepts, definitions and classifications are based on the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010), chapter 17 "Social insurance including pensions" in particular.

ESA 2010 Supplementary table on accrued-to-date pension entitlements brings together pensions schemes recorded in core national accounts as well as not funded "pay-as-you-go" pension schemes managed by general government. The entitlements accrued by the latter are excluded from core national accounts and are considered as contingent liabilities. Such presentation of all pension schemes in one table provides complete overview of organisation of pension social insurance in a given country and enhances cross-country analysis of households' pension entitlements. In some countries pension insurance traditionally relies rather on state social security schemes (not in core accounts), whereas in other countries biggest share of entitlements is accumulated in private pension schemes (in core accounts). 

Core national accounts (i.e. full sequence of non-financial and financial accounts) cover entitlements and flows of employment related pension schemes. In such schemes beneficiaries have definite claim to accrued pension entitlements, which are then recorded as assets of Households in financial accounts.

Excluded from core national accounts – unfunded "pay-as-you-go" (PAYG) schemes managed by general government. Pension contributions and benefits of such schemes are recorded in non-financial accounts, however participants do not have a definite claim to accumulated entitlements. PAYG contributions in a given period are used to finance the benefits in the same period. There is no saving element involved in such schemes. In case of shortfalls government may have powers to change the commitments not only related to future employment but also for past employment. Therefore, entitlements are not recorded for such schemes in financial accounts. Such pension entitlements are considered as contingent entitlements/liabilities. Still, it is considered useful to have an estimate of possible extent of such implicit entitlements at a given point in time for cross-country data comparison as well as for analysis of households' saving behaviour.

There are two types of pension schemes according to their nature:

  1. Defined contribution scheme - is a pen­sion scheme where the benefits are defined exclu­sively in terms of the level of the fund built up from the contributions made over the employee’s work­ing life and the increases in value that result from the investment of such funds by the manager of the pension scheme. The entire risk of a defined contribution scheme to provide an adequate income in retirement is borne by the employee. The pension entitlements of all defined contribution pension schemes are included in the core national accounts.
  2. Defined benefit scheme -is a pension scheme where the benefits payable to the employee on retirement are determined by the use of a for­mula, either alone or in combination with a guar­anteed minimum amount payable. The risk of a defined benefit scheme to provide an adequate income in retirement is borne by the employer or a unit acting on his behalf.  Notional defined contribution schemes and hybrid schemes are grouped with defined benefit schemes.

The pension manager is the unit responsible for determining the terms of employment-related pension scheme and bears the ultimate responsibility for pension entitlements. The pen­sion manager also retains a significant degree of responsibility over the long-term policy of invest­ment in assets, including the selection of invest­ment options and the structure of administrative providers.

The supplementary table records stocks and flows by type of pension scheme and by sectors as follows:

F63_LS – Pension entitlements in opening balance sheet


D61_P – Net pension contributions

  =  D6111 – Employers' actual pension contributions

   + D6121 - Employers' imputed pension contributions (imputed for defined benefit schemes (core accounts) as a difference between the increase in current service entitlements and actual contributions)

   + D6131 - Households' actual pension contributions

   + D6141 - Households' pension contributions supplements (actual property income earned during the accounting period on the stock of pension entitlements or imputed increase in entitlements coming from past service for defined benefit schemes)

   -  D61SC – Pension scheme service charges

  +  D619 – Other actuarial change in pension entitlements in social security pension schemes (not recorded in core accounts)


D62_P – Pension benefits payable

= D8 – Changes in pension entitlements (D61_P - D62_P)


D81 -  Transfers of pension entitlements between schemes


D82 – Change in entitlements due to negotiated changes in scheme structure (i.e. result of enacted pension schemes reforms)


K5 – Other changes due to other changes in volume (changes in actuarial model demographic assumptions and other changes)


K7 - Other changes due to revaluations (holding gains and losses or changes in actuarial model assumptions on discount rate, wage and price developments)


F63_LE – Pension entitlements in closing balance sheet

The transactions are recorded on an accrual basis (i.e. not on a cash basis), that is, when economic value is created, transformed or extinguished.

3.5. Statistical unit

The elementary building block of ESA2010 statistics is the institutional unit (see ESA2010, 2.12), "an elementary economic decision-making centre characterised by uniformity of behaviour and decision-making autonomy in the exercise of its principal function". This can be a household, a corporation, a non-profit institution or a government agency.

3.6. Statistical population

Employment-related and unfunded government pension schemes.

3.7. Reference area

European Union, Euro Area, EU Member States, EFTA Member States (except Liechtenstein)

3.8. Coverage - Time

The ESA 2010 regulation requires submitting the data starting from 2015 on 3-yearly basis. Countries may transmit longer time series or transmit data annually on voluntary basis.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure Top

Data are presented in millions of national currency and in million euro.

5. Reference Period Top

The reference period is the calendar year.

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

The supplementary table on accrued-to-date pension entitlements in social insurance are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) and are transmitted to Eurostat following ESA 2010 transmission programme (Table 29) both established by the Regulation (EU) No 549/2013.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Data received via the ESA2010 transmission programme are shared with other international institutions in accordance with specific agreements, notably with the ECB and the OECD.

Data sharing with the European Central Bank (ECB) is governed by service level agreement signed between Eurostat and ECB in February 2008.

A Protocol for co-operation between Eurostat and the OECD in the area of National Accounts signed in June 2013 specifies agreed data exchange and data validation arrangements.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics, 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

If Member States transmit data with a confidentiality flag or an embargo date, these data are not disseminated until the confidentiality flag is lifted in a subsequent data transmission or the embargo expired.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Accrued-to-date pension entitlements data by country are released as soon as successfully validated by Eurostat.

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.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

National data are to be disseminated once every three years, two years after the reference period in line with the requirements of ESA 2010 data transmission programme.

In case of data updates or more frequent voluntary data transmissions, these are released after successful data validation by Eurostat.

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

Not applicable

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Links to national publications are available in dedicated Eurostat webpage on pensions in national accounts.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Eurostat database is the main pension data dissemination channel. Pensions in national accounts data set is nested in Economy and Finance/National Accounts (ESA 2010)/Annual sector accounts section (domain nasa_10_pens).

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Eurostat webpages dedicated to Pensions in national accounts provide general information on the data set, methodology as well as links to national publications and ECFIN publications on pension projections and sustainability analysis.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The general methodological framework is defined by the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) in chapter 17 "Social insurance including pensions" and Technical Compilation Guide for Pension Data in National Accounts.

National methodologies are outlined in standardised pension factsheets (see Annex).

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Overall quality assessment of the national and regional accounts based on ESA 2010 is provided in the document "Quality report on National and Regional Accounts, 2016 data" and REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the application of Regulation (EU) No 549/2013.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Quality is assured by strict application of ESA2010 concepts and by thorough validation of the data delivered by countries.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

ESA 2010 data transmissions are subject to regular quality assessment reviews. Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 (ESA 2010 Regulation) specifies that the data covered by that Regulation is subject to the quality criteria, namely relevance, accuracy, timeliness and punctuality, accessibility and clarity, comparability and coherence, as set out in Article 12(1) of Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Member States are to provide the Commission with a report on the quality of the transmitted data on national and regional accounts. The modalities, structure, periodicity and assessment indicators of the quality reports on data transmitted have been specified in a Commission Implementing Regulation 2016/2304 of 19 December 2016. The implementation of the quality reporting and assessment exercise started in 2017 and is carried out annually. As part of the annual exercise, Eurostat assesses the results, prepares and publishes an overall assessment based on the national quality reports and other available information. The Commission also, on a 5 year basis, reports to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the ESA 2010 Regulation, including the quality of data on national and regional accounts. The first of such reports was published in 2018: REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the application of Regulation (EU) No 549/2013.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Supplementary table on accrued-to-date pension entitlements in social insurance offers complete and consistent description of pension systems in social insurance by country from an accounting perspective. Such presentation of all pension schemes in one table enhances cross-country analysis of households' pension entitlements.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

This is a new data collection released for the first time in 2018.  Data on users satisfaction are not available.

12.3. Completeness

Supplementary table on accrued-to-date pension entitlements in social insurance offer complete and consistent description of pension systems in social insurance by country covering social security and other employment related pension schemes. Private pension schemes in which insurance is taken out solely on the own initiative of the insured, independently of his/her employer and government, are treated as life insurance in national accounts and are excluded from the present data set.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy is supported by ensuring numerical coherence of stock and flows by each type of pension schemes and the total domestic economy, and also by monitoring coherence across data domains. National accounts generic and pensions specific data validation rules are covered in ESA 2010 Handbook on data validation (Chapter 11).

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

According to the ESA 2010 Transmission Programme (see also section 8.1), Member States have to transmit data to Eurostat within 24 months after the end of the reference year on three yearly basis.

14.2. Punctuality

Eurostat monitors closely punctuality of data delivery by the countries. Countries generally meet the data transmission deadline (24 months after the end of the reference year).

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The geographical comparability is ensured by the application of common definitions and methodological framework established by European System of Accounts, ESA 2010, which is based on internationally agreed System of National Accounts, SNA 2008, as well as on aligned actuarial assumptions for PAYG pension system calculations across countries.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Application of a common framework (European System of Accounts 2010) ensures data comparability over time.

Wherever series are not comparable in time, data breaks are appropriately flagged in the Eurostat database.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Supplementary table on accrued-to-date pension entitlements (Table 29) has conceptual links with the following ESA 2010 TP tables:

- Financial accounts by sector (Table 6) - consistency is expected with Table 6 data for changes in pension entitlements (for total of pension schemes recorded in core accounts).

- Balance Sheets for financial assets and liabilities (Stocks of financial instruments, consolidated and non-consolidated, and counterpart information, Table 7) - consistency is expected with Table 7 non-consolidated pension entitlements (for total of pension schemes recorded in core accounts).

- Non-financial accounts by sector, annual (Table 8) - consistency is expected with adjustment for changes in pension entitlements (for total of pension schemes recorded in core accounts). Social contributions and benefits of private sectors in Table 8 should be equal or higher than total of those of Table 29 (as Table 8 may cover also non-pension contributions). 

- Detailed tax and social contribution receipts by type of tax or social contribution and Receiving subsector including the list of taxes and social contributions according to national classification (Table 9) – consistency is expected with Table 9 data on employers' and households' actual pension contributions to general government sector schemes (if provided in Table 9 on voluntary basis).

However, discrepancies with mentioned data sets are possible for the following reasons:

- Vintage differences – Table 29 is transmitted 3 months later than abovementioned related tables and thus may include some data updates in the year of transmission; subsequently Table 29 is updated once in 3 years (unless transmitted more frequently on voluntary basis);

- Data sources and methodological differences – Table 29 is a new data set compiled and released for the first time in 2018 in most countries. Compilation of Table 29 allowed for elaboration of detailed calculation procedures and new data sources specifically related to core accounts pension schemes that may not be yet be fully integrated in other related data sets (e.g. due to different institutional set-up and/or different length of data series). Methodological convergence is expected to improve in the course of following years.

Wherever relevant, meta-information concerning significant discrepancies, if any, is provided in national pension factsheets (see Annex).

Such discrepancies across national accounts domains are expected to be temporary and should reconciled at the first available opportunity. Discrepancies in back series are normally reconciled during benchmark revisions.

Cross-domain discrepancies are regularly monitored by Eurostat and constant efforts are made to minimise them. Recommendations for harmonised European revision policy for national accounts and balance of payments are being developed under the umbrella of CMFB.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Supplementary table on accrued-to-date pension entitlements is internally consistent. Total and sub-components, stock and flows for each pension scheme add up to provide a coherent set of data for the total domestic economy.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

National  Statistical Offices and National Central Banks agreed to gradually implement a common harmonised European revision  policy (HERP) for national  accounts  and  balance  of  payments  statistics.  This policy  includes differentiated guidelines  regarding  the  timing  and  depth  of  revisions of quarterly  and  annual  data.  It aims to improve adherence  to the twofold principle of alignment  between  statistical  domains at national level and coordinated alignment across countries at EU level. The policy provides guidelines for both 'routine' revisions and 'major' or 'benchmark' revisions.


17.2. Data revision - practice

National revision practices of sector accounts data should follow the harmonised revision policy for the national accounts and balance of payments statistics.

Routine revisions for annual data

Annual estimates are usually revised retrospectively for up to four years to incorporate annual data sources as well as changes following Excessive Deficit Procedure and Own Resources notifications.

Major or benchmark revisions

In 2014, all Member States disseminated revised data according to ESA 2010. The agreed guidelines specify that Member States should disseminate the results of the next benchmark revisions in 2019 and 2024 respectively. It is expected that most EU countries will be able to meet the 2019 target and that all EU countries will undertake the subsequent benchmark revision in 2024. Disseminating the results of a benchmark revision always involves revising all, or at least a large part of the time series.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

National data compilation relies on a variety of data sources, including administrative data (registers, accounting statements, budgetary and supervisory reports etc), censuses and statistical surveys of reporting units. No single type of data source can be referred to in case of national accounts data. Sources also vary from country to country.  For further information about sources and collection methods please refer to national pension factsheets (see annex).

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Every three years, in accordance with the ESA 2010 transmission programme. Data for year 2012 are transmitted on a voluntary basis. Transmission of data for years from 2015 onwards in three-yearly cycle is compulsory. Countries may provide data with greater frequency on a voluntary basis.

18.3. Data collection

ESA 2010 data are transmitted to Eurostat based on SDMX standard following standardised codes system.

National Accounts combine data from many source statistics. Techniques of national data collection vary widely, depending on the compilation approach, the source statistics available, the timeliness of data release and other factors.

18.4. Data validation

Data inputs by National Statistical Institutes are checked by Eurostat for accuracy and completeness. Transmitted figures are screened through an extensive system of technical SDMX standard related checks and equations based on arithmetical constraints (each total must equal the sum of its components) as well as accounting relations following ESA 2010 and Technical compilation guide on pension data in national accounts (reconciliation of stocks and flows, consistency with related data sets). National accounts validation system is described in ESA 2010 Handbook on data validation. Validation is supported by national metadata provided in pension factsheets (see annex).

18.5. Data compilation

Data in national currency are converted to euro using the annual average of the current market exchange rates for flows and end of period exchange rates for stocks.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable

19. Comment Top


Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
T29 factsheets AUSTRIA
T29 factsheets BELGIUM
T29 factsheets BULGARIA
T29 Factsheets CROATIA
T29 Factsheets CYPRUS
T29 Factsheets CZECHIA
T29 Factsheets DENMARK
T29 Factsheets ESTONIA
T29 Factsheets FINLAND
T29 Factsheets FRANCE
T29 Factsheets GERMANY
T29 Factsheets HUNGARY
T29 Factsheets IRELAND
T29 Factsheets ITALY
T29 Factsheets LATVIA
T29 Factsheets MALTA
T29 Factsheets NETHERLANDS
T29 Factsheets POLAND
T29 Factsheets PORTUGAL
T29 Factsheets ROMANIA
T29 Factsheets SLOVAKIA
T29 Factsheets SLOVENIA
T29 Factsheets SPAIN
T29 Factsheets SWEDEN
T29 Factsheets ICELAND
T29 Factsheets NORWAY
T29 Factsheets SWITZERLAND
T29 Factsheets LITHUANIA