Statistics Explained

Government finance statistics - quarterly data

Data extracted on 21 April 2022.

Planned article update: July 2022.

Highlights


In the fourth quarter of 2021, the seasonally adjusted general government deficit to GDP ratio stood at -3.6 % in the euro area and -3.5 % in the EU. Deficits remain at a high level, compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area decreased to 95.6 %, from 97.5 % at the end of the third quarter of 2021.

The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 were recorded in Greece (193.3 %), Italy (150.8 %), Portugal (127.4 %), Spain (118.4 %), France (112.9 %), Belgium (108.2 %) and Cyprus (103.6 %).

EU and euro area quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-), % of GDP, seasonally adjusted data
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa)

In recent years, Eurostat has significantly expanded the range of integrated quarterly data on government finance statistics 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) countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

This article is based on data transmitted to Eurostat at the end of March 2022 and during April 2022, and includes data coverage of the fourth quarter of 2021, and follows ESA 2010 methodology. It is supplemented by estimated non-financial seasonally adjusted data provided on a voluntary basis by EU and EFTA countries' National Statistical Institutes. Eurostat regularly publishes seasonally adjusted and calendar adjusted quarterly data on government revenue, expenditure and surplus (+)/ deficit (-), currently for twenty-two Member States, Switzerland and the EU aggregates.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the seasonally adjusted general government deficit to GDP ratio stood at -3.6 % in the euro area and -3.5 % in the EU. A slight decrease in the deficit compared to the third quarter of 2021 was observed for the euro area, but the deficit remained at a high level compared to the pre-pandemic period. The deficit to GDP ratio decreased due to stronger increases in total revenue compared to total expenditure as well as due to a higher GDP in comparison with the third quarter of 2021. Total revenue and total expenditure continued to be influenced by policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the EU, the deficit to GDP ratio remained stable compared with the third quarter of 2021. As for the euro area, strong increases in total expenditure and total revenue were observed along with a growth in the denominator of the ratio – GDP. In the fourth quarter of 2021, most Member States continued to record a government deficit.


Full article


Quarterly non-financial accounts for general government

Government revenue and expenditure

Both total revenue and expenditure exhibit a clear seasonality. In order to interpret trends for the most recent quarters, seasonally adjusted data is presented in addition to the non-seasonally adjusted data transmitted by EU Member States (see explanation below).

Seasonally adjusted total revenue in the euro area increased by around €46 billion and stood at 48.2 % of GDP, up from 47.3 % of GDP in the third quarter of 2021. Seasonally adjusted total government expenditure increased by around €41 billion and stood at 51.8 % of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 51.1 % of GDP in the third quarter of 2021.

In the EU, seasonally adjusted total government revenue was 47.5 % of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 46.8 % of GDP in the third quarter of 2021. Seasonally adjusted total revenue in the EU increased by around €50 billion compared with the third quarter of 2021. Total government expenditure in the EU was 50.9 % of GDP, an increase compared with 50.3 % of GDP in the previous quarter. Seasonally adjusted total expenditure in the EU increased by around €53 billion compared with the previous quarter.

Figure 2: Euro area total revenue and total expenditure, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted data, € billion
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa)


Figure 3: Euro area total revenue and total expenditure, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted data, % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa)

From the third quarter of 2010 onwards, a decreasing trend in the level of the total expenditure-to-GDP ratio was visible, reflecting an absolute decrease in total expenditure in some quarters as well as the effects of renewed economic growth in the EU and the euro area (all seasonally adjusted). In the fourth quarter of 2012 and in the second quarter of 2013, total expenditure increased slightly in both areas, influenced by interventions to support the banking sector in several Member States, notably in Spain in the fourth quarter of 2012 and in Greece in the second quarter of 2013. Supports for the banking sector in several Member States are also the main reason for the increase in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The decreasing trend in general government deficits was broken in the first quarter of 2020 when Member States began to introduce expenditure measures to mitigate the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong decreases in total revenue mainly due to declines in economic activity and tax cuts introduced by governments and increases in total expenditure are observed since this period. This change in trend was accelerated in the second quarter of 2020 when the measures fully came into effect in most Member States. In the the third quarter of 2020, government revenue and expenditure continued to be influenced by policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic but less severely than in the previous quarter. In many Member States the economies opened up in the third quarter after having been in lock down. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the reduction was reversed as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened and government measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic had a stronger influence on total expenditure. In the first and second quarters of 2021, the deficits remained at a high level although generally lower than the fourth quarter of 2020; this was mainly driven by lower expenditure as percentage of GDP as well as renewed growth in nominal GDP. In the third and fourth quarters of 2021, the deficit to GDP ratio continued to decline supported by higher revenue, a decrease in expenditure as well as due to a higher GDP, but remained at a high level compared to the pre-pandemic period

Table 1: EA-19 and EU quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-), total expenditure and total revenue as a percentage of GDP, seasonally adjusted data
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat and National Statistical Institutes estimates


Table 2: Quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) as a percentage of GDP, seasonally adjusted data
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: National Statistical Institute estimates


Table 3: Quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) by country, non-seasonally adjusted data
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa)

General government deficit

The difference between general government total revenue and total expenditure is known in ESA 2010 terminology as general government net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) (ESA 2010 category B.9) and is usually referred to as government deficit (or surplus). This figure is an important indicator of the overall situation of government finances. It is usually expressed as a percentage of GDP.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the seasonally adjusted general government deficit to GDP ratio stood at -3.6 % in the euro area and -3.5 % in the EU. A slight decrease in the deficit compared to the third quarter of 2021 was observed for the euro area, but the deficit remained at a high level compared to the pre-pandemic period. The deficit to GDP ratio decreased due to stronger increases in total revenue compared to total expenditure as well as due to a higher GDP in comparison with the third quarter of 2021. Total revenue and total expenditure continued to be influenced by policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the EU, the deficit to GDP ratio remained stable compared with the third quarter of 2021. As for the euro area, strong increases in total expenditure and total revenue were observed along with a growth in the denominator of the ratio – GDP. In the fourth quarter of 2021, most Member States continued to record a government deficit.

Government deficits have been more volatile during the pandemic as a result of the varying responses to the COVID-19 pandemic such as active policy measures as well as the economic effects of lock-downs.

In the second quarter of 2020, the highest deficit in the euro area (-12 %) and the EU (-11.7 %) since the start of the time series was recorded.

In contrast, the lowest deficit to GDP ratio in the available time series occurred in the first quarter of 2018 in the euro area and in the EU, when the deficit stood at -0.1 % of GDP for the euro area and -0.2 % in the EU.

Figure 4: EA-19 net lending, net borrowing, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted data, % of GDP and € billion
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa)


The main part of government revenue are taxes and social contributions. During economic downturns, tax revenue and social contribution revenue decrease even in the absence of fiscal policy changes as an automatic stabiliser. This is because the underlying tax bases decrease. In the second quarter of 2020, large decreases in the seasonally adjusted total government revenue were observed amounting to €121 billion in the euro area and €129 billion for the EU compared to the first quarter of 2020. However, in the third quarter seasonally adjusted government total revenue grew by €100 billion in the euro area (€114 billion for the EU) compared to the second quarter of 2020. From the fourth quarter of 2020 onwards, total seasonally adjusted revenue in the euro area and EU continued to increase. This increase constitutes a sharp rebound compared to the second quarter of 2020 and as result the seasonally adjusted total revenue reached the levels observed prior to the pandemic already in the second quarter of 2021.

Figure 5: EU components of general government total revenue, € billion
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa)


In the second quarter of 2020, all countries set up or expanded specific (expenditure) measures in order to mitigate the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This, as well as an increased use of existing (social security) schemes, explains the increase in seasonally adjusted total expenditure by around €108 billion in the euro area (€132 billion for the EU) compared with the first quarter of 2020. In the third quarter of 2020, seasonally adjusted total government expenditure decreased by €30 billion (€41 billion for the EU) compared to the second quarter of 2020 due to a lesser impact of COVID-19 policy measures as economies started opening up. This was however reversed in the fourth quarter of 2020 as expenditure increased again by €53 billion for the euro area and €58 billion for the EU compared to the third quarter of 2020. In the first, second and third quarters of 2021 the seasonally adjusted total government expenditure became more stable in both the euro area and the EU, while in the fourth quarter of 2021 expenditure increased again by €41 billion for the euro area and €53 billion for the EU.

In Eurobase, seasonally adjusted and calendar day adjusted total revenue and total expenditure data of Member States and EFTA countries, which provide seasonally adjusted and calendar day adjusted data for total revenue, total expenditure and net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) in addition to the non-seasonally adjusted data, is presented in full detail. This data is provided on a voluntary basis by the Member States' statistical authorities.

Figure 6: EU components of general government total expenditure, € billion
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggnfa)

Quarterly financial accounts for general government

Financial transactions - assets, liabilities and net financial transactions

The government financial accounts notably allow for an analysis of how governments finance their deficits or use their surpluses to either reduce their liabilities or acquire financial assets. They include data on financial transactions (net acquisition of financial assets and the net incurrence of financial liabilities) and balance sheet items (stocks of financial assets and liabilities outstanding at the end of each quarter) for general government and its subsectors. Variations in stocks are explained both by the transactions and by other factors such as holding gains and losses and other changes in volume. The aim of this section is to present the main characteristics of the general government financial accounts.

From the fourth quarter of 2008 onwards, the fluctuation of transactions in both assets and liabilities increased sharply due to the economic and financial crisis, resulting in increasing negative figures in net financial transactions (B.9f). This is interpreted as the government deficit/surplus derived from financial accounts. It shows how the deficit is financed by incurring liabilities or the disposal of financial assets. Contrary to the government deficit/surplus, net financial transactions are not seasonally adjusted. The increase and peaks in transactions in financial assets can be explained by governments having acquired such assets to support financial institutions, for example acquiring an equity stake or providing a loan. The worsening economic climate also led to an increase in government total expenditure, while revenue decreased. For these reasons, governments also needed to incur liabilities.

Figure 7: EU net financial transactions, transactions in assets and liabilities, € billion
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)


Net financial transactions continued to deteriorate steadily from the second quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2010 for the euro area and the EU. From the first quarter of 2010 until the first quarter of 2018 onwards an improvement was visible.

In the first quarter of 2020, net financial transactions started to worsen due to higher growth of liabilities compared to assets. In the second quarter of 2020, the net financial transactions continued to sharply decrease. The policy responses to the containment measures increased the financing needs for governments. Part of the financing was used for the accumulation of assets, notably in deposits, but also in other accounts, receivable as a consequence of deferral of tax and social contribution payment deadlines widely introduced in Member States. In the third quarter of 2020, net financial transactions mainly reflected the financing of the deficit. In the fourth quarter of 2020 the governments disposed their accumulated deposits to finance the deficit. In the first quarter of 2021, net financial transactions mainly reflected the financing of the deficit as well as the accumulation of assets (notably deposits), itself driven by net issuances of debt liabilities. In the second, the third and the fourth quarters of 2021, net financial transactions again reflected the need to finance the deficit.

Figure 8: EA-19 net financial transactions, transactions in assets and liabilities, € billion
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)

Government financial balance sheet

At the level of the EU and the euro area, a significant rise in the stocks of liabilities was observed since the fourth quarter of 2008, together with an increase in assets which was less pronounced. The rise in the stock of liabilities was mainly due to debt securities, which are by far the most important financial instrument on the government liability side. The stock of loan liabilities also increased substantially. The remainder of financial liabilities are mainly 'other accounts, payable'.

In the second and third quarters of 2020, the stock of both financial assets increased due to the policy responses to the pandemic both in the EU and the euro area. Notably, increases in deposits as well as other accounts receivables, the latter mainly relating to the deferral of taxes and social contributions that were accrued as revenue but not yet paid, are observed. The stock of liabilities increased between the first quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021 mainly due to the issuance of debt securities. This increase is sharper and far more pronounced than observed in the financial crisis. In the fourth quarter of 2020 there was a decrease of financial assets (mainly deposits) while liabilities kept increasing. Both the stock of financial assets and liabilities increased further in each of the first three quarters of 2021. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the stock of financial assets continued to increase, although on a slower pace, while the stock of liabilities reversed to a decrease, the latter mainly being due to revaluations of government debt security liabilities.

Figure 9: EU net financial worth, stock of assets and liabilities, € billion and % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)


Figure 10: EA-19 net financial worth, stock of assets and liabilities, € billion and % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)

The stock of financial assets is mainly held in equity and investment fund shares (for example public corporations), with currency and deposits (these exhibit a strong seasonality), other accounts receivable, loans and debt securities also making up important parts. Loans increased substantially during the financial crisis. In the second quarter of 2020, the stock of currency and deposits increased the most of all financial instruments. In the fourth quarter of 2020 deposits decreased, only to increase again in the first quarter of 2021. It is not uncommon that governments decrease their deposits at the end of the fourth quarter. In the second, the third and the fourth quarters of 2021 the stocks of financial assets increased in absolute terms, but remained relatively stable as a percentage of GDP, except the stock of currency and deposits, which declined again in the last quarter of the year.

Figure 11: EU stock of assets by financial instrument, % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)


Figure 12: EA-19 stock of assets by financial instrument, % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)

The difference between the stock of financial assets and liabilities is the balancing item net financial worth.

Figure 13: Evolution of net financial worth by country, % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)

Compared with the second quarter of 2020, the second quarter of 2021 shows a deterioration of the balancing item net financial worth for the EU. This was reversed in the third quarter of 2021, when net financial worth stood at -63.6 % of GDP, while at the end of the third quarter of 2020, net financial worth stood at -63.9 % of GDP. The improvement of the balancing item net financial worth for the EU continued in the fourth quarter of 2021 as the ratio stood at -61.5 % of GDP, up from -66 % of GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. This improvement in net financial worth was influenced by negative revaluations of government debt security liabilities.

The stock of financial assets stood at 45.6 % of GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 (a decrease compared with 46.9 % of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020) and the stock of liabilities also declined from 112.9 % of GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020 to 107.1 % of GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021. The stock of financial assets and liabilities changes due to financial transactions as well to 'other flows' such as revaluations. In recent quarters up to the fourth quarter of 2020, government debt securities (liabilities) have notably increased in value in many EU countries, driven by declining interest rates. The higher value of these liabilities negatively affects net financial worth. In the second, third and fourth quarters of 2020, the stock of debt securities increased substantially due to transactions (increased financing needs of governments) as well as due to positive revaluations. In the first three quarters of 2021, the stock of debt securities increased due to the net issuance of new debt, while this was partly off-set by a lower valuation. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the stock of debt securities at market value decreased as positive net transactions were off-set by larger negative revaluations.

Figure 14: EU stock of liabilities by financial instrument, % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)


Figure 15: EA-19 stock of liabilities by financial instrument, % of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggfa)

Quarterly gross debt for general government

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area stood at 95.6 %, compared with 97.5 % at the end of the third quarter of 2021. In the EU, the ratio also decreased from 89.9 % to 88.1 %. For the euro area, the decrease in government debt to GDP ratio is due to an increase in GDP and a slight decrease in the nominal debt in absolute terms, while for the EU the nominal debt continued to increase slightly but was outweighed by the increase in GDP. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, the government debt to GDP ratio decreased in both the euro area (from 97.2 % to 95.6 %) and the EU (from 90.0 % to 88.1 %).

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, debt securities accounted for 82.6% of euro area and for 82.3 % of EU general government debt. Loans made up 14.2 % and 14.7 % respectively and currency and deposits represented 3.1 % of euro area and 3.0 % of EU government debt.

The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 were recorded in Greece (193.3%), Italy (150.8 %), Portugal (127.4 %), Spain (118.4 %), France (112.9 %), Belgium (108.2 %) and Cyprus (103.6 %), and the lowest in Estonia (18.1 %), Luxembourg (24.4 %) and Bulgaria (25.1 %).

Figure 16: General government gross debt, % of GDP, 2021Q4
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggdebt)


Compared with the third quarter of 2021, seven Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, nineteen a decrease, while the ratio remained stable in Germany. Increases in the ratio were observed in Slovakia (+1.8 percentage points – pp), Czechia (+1.5 pp), Latvia (+1.3 pp), Bulgaria (+0.9 pp), Romania (+0.6 pp), Malta (+0.4 pp) and Sweden (+0.3 pp), while the largest decreases were recorded in Greece (-8.3 pp), Cyprus (-5.4 pp), Slovenia (-5.0 pp) and Italy (-3.8 pp).

Figure 17: Change in general government gross debt, percentage points of GDP, 2021Q4 compared to the previous quarter
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggdebt)


Compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, seven Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 and twenty Member States a decrease. Increases in the ratio were recorded in Czechia (+4.2 pp), Malta (+3.6 pp), Slovakia (+3.3 pp), Romania (+1.6 pp), Latvia (+1.5 pp), Germany (+0.6 pp) and Bulgaria (+0.4 pp), while the largest decreases were observed in Greece (-13.1 pp), Cyprus (-11.4 pp), Portugal (-7.8 pp), Croatia (-7.5 pp), Denmark (-5.4 pp) and Slovenia (-5.1 pp).

Figure 18: Change in general government gross debt, percentage points of GDP, 2021Q4 compared to the same quarter of the previous year
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggdebt)

Evolution of deficit and debt

The figure below shows some of the most important links between the quarterly deficit and the quarterly debt for the euro area. While in general, government gross debt will increase in the presence of a government deficit, this is not necessarily the case in the short-term. Deficits can also be financed by the sale of financial assets, or alternatively debt can be used to finance the acquisition of financial assets. Therefore, in addition to the surplus/deficit, a strong co-movement of net acquisition of financial assets exists with the evolution of quarterly debt. The incurence of liabilities not covered in the Maastricht debt definition as stipulated in the excessive deficit procedure EDP (mainly 'other accounts, payable') as well as valuation differences and discrepancies typically play a smaller role in explaining the change in debt.

Figure 19: EA-19 evolution of general government deficit and debt, percentage of GDP
Source: Eurostat (gov_10q_ggdebt)

Between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2019, for the euro area, the link between the deficit and the gross debt was mainly explained by net acquisition of financial assets.

Since the first quarter of 2020, at the level of the euro area, deficits (non-seasonally adjusted) started increasing because of the COVID-19 containment measures and policy responses to mitigate the economic and social impact of those containment measures. This was in particular the case in the second quarter of 2020, where the highest deficit since the start of the series was recorded (12.1 % of GDP). The financing of the deficit explains 49.0 % of the increase in gross debt for the first quarter of 2020 and 56.0 % for the second quarter. The net acquisition of financial assets explains further the debt increases in the first and second quarters of 2020, implying that the increase in debt was a lot higher than the deficit. Notably, increases in deposits as well as other accounts receivables, the latter relating to the deferral of taxes and social contributions that were accrued as revenue but not yet paid, are observed in the first two quarters of 2020. In the third quarter of 2020, the financing of the deficit explained the main part of the increase in debt. In the fourth quarter of 2020, at the level of the euro area, the deficit was financed for the major part by the disposal of assets (including reductions in deposits accumulated with major debt issuances in the first and second quarters) rather than by incurring additional debt. An increase in liabilities not part of Maastricht debt (notably other accounts, payable) also contributed.

In the first three quarters of 2021, the change in debt was mainly attributable to the financing of the deficit. In particular, in the third quarter of 2021, the financing of the deficit (3.8 % of GDP), explained the main part of the change in debt (4.0 % of quarterly GDP). At the same time, the effects of net acquisitions of financial assets (1.9 % of GDP), notably due to the large increases in deposits, off-set with the effects of net incurences of liabilities not included in Maastricht debt (-1.1 % of GDP) as well as other adjustments comprising notably some revaluations and discrepancies (-0.6 % of GDP). In the fourth quarter of 2021, at the level of the euro area, the deficit was financed mainly by the disposal of assets (currency and deposits) rather than by incurring additional debt. An increase in liabilities not part of Maastricht debt (notably other accounts, payable) also contributed.

Data sources

Please refer to the country notes on Eurostat's metadata (ESMS) for more important information at country level.

Since the first quarter 2020, Member States have implemented COVID-19 containment measures. The policy measures with the largest impact on the government accounts in the quarters of 2021 were related to taxes (tax exemptions, postponement of payment deadlines) and to expenditure measures to support employment and businesses. Country specific explanatory metadata are published below. Further harmonisation is expected as regards recording practices for the liquidity and expenditure measures introduced, for the quarterly impact of accruals of deferred taxes as well as for revenue from the institutions and bodies of the European Union. The data for the first, second and third quarter of 2021 were considerably revised by many Member States.

Gross domestic product

Throughout this publication, gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices (nominal) is used, either using the non-seasonally adjusted or the seasonally and calendar adjusted forms as appropriate.

Context

Quarterly accounts of general government

Eurostat releases quarterly flow and stock data for the general government sector, using an integrated structure which combines the data from quarterly non-financial accounts for general government, quarterly financial accounts for general government and quarterly government debt. An integrated publication combining data from all three tables is released quarterly on the dedicated Government Finance Statistics (GFS) section of the Eurostat web site.

Data is transmitted according to the ESA 2010 transmission programme for quarterly financial accounts and quarterly government debt. Non-financial accounts data is transmitted under gentlemen's agreement.

ESA 2010

Eurostat publishes quarterly government finance statistics figures based on the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010) methodology.

General government

Government finance statistics cover data for general government as defined in ESA2010, paragraph 2.111.

Seasonal adjustment of selected data series

Quarterly government finance statistics are reported to Eurostat in the form of non-seasonally adjusted (raw) figures. However, a certain number of the reported series contain seasonal patterns (explained by the link with the seasonality of economic activity and by the budgetary planning and accounting practices of national governments), which make it difficult to carry out a direct meaningful cross-country and time series analysis using non-adjusted data. The same is true for GDP, which reflects the seasonal pattern of all economic activities in the economy.

To overcome this difficulty and thus to gain a better understanding of trends in addition to the non-seasonally adjusted data, seasonally adjusted data is presented for the EU and euro area in this article. The seasonal adjustment aims to remove the seasonality linked to this quarterly data.

It should be noted that annualised seasonally adjusted data is not in general equal to annualised non-adjusted data. When using annualised figures, it is more appropriate to use non-seasonally adjusted data. Using seasonally adjusted data is more appropriate when looking at quarter-on-quarter growth rates.

The seasonal adjustment for total revenue and total expenditure is done using an indirect procedure (at country level) using Tramo-Seats on Demetra+. Where available, National Statistical Institutes own estimates are used as input for the aggregates, which are supplied to Eurostat on a gentlemen's agreement basis. Most country level estimates as well as data for the EU aggregates are published on Eurobase. These estimates are supplemented by Eurostat's own estimates for those countries, which do not supply their own estimate - such data is labelled confidential and not published.

Net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) is derived indirectly from the accounting identity: Net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-)= total revenue - total expenditure.

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