Statistics Explained

Tutorial:Country codes and protocol order

Tutorial updated in January 2021.

Highlights

This page describes the rules for the abbreviations, codes and protocol order to use for countries.

These rules were taken from the Interinstitutional style guide and should be applied to all publications, namely Statistics Explained articles, statistical books and statistical working papers.

Please note that different rules apply to the reference database, especially concerning the codes for the EU aggregates. Some examples are provided in the table below; the complete code lists are available here.

Full article

EU and euro area aggregates

Code English French German Comment Code used in the reference database
EU European Union Union européenne Europäische Union data refers to the EU composition of the reference period EU
EU-27 European Union (27 countries) Union européenne (27 pays) Europäische Union (27 Länder) data refers to the EU composition with 27 Member States (from 1.2.2020) EU27_2020
EU-28 European Union (28 countries) Union européenne (28 pays) Europäische Union (28 Länder) data refers to the EU composition with 28 Member States (from 1.7.2013 to 31.1.2020) EU28
EU-27_2007 European Union (27 countries) Union européenne (27 pays) Europäische Union (27 Länder) data refers to the EU composition with 27 Member States (from 1.1.2007 to 30.6.2013) EU27_2007
EA euro area zone euro Euroraum data refers to the euro area composition of the reference period EA
EA-19 euro area (19 countries) zone euro (19 pays) Euroraum (19 Länder) data refers to the euro area composition of 2015 EA19


If EU-27 and EA-19 aggregates are available, other EU aggregates should not be shown. However, if appropriate, moving compositions of the EU and EA aggregates can also be presented.

The following aggregates should in general never be used, unless there is very specific domain need for their usage: EU-15, EU-10, EU-12. Aggregates referring to 'new' Member States (e.g. countries having joined in 2004 and/or 2007) must not be used: NMS-10, NMS-12, etc.

Codes, names and protocol order of European Union (EU) Member States

Code Country language English French German
BE Belgique/België Belgium Belgique Belgien
BG Bulgarija Bulgaria Bulgarie Bulgarien
CZ Česko Czechia Tchéquie Tschechien
DK Danmark Denmark Danemark Dänemark
DE Deutschland Germany Allemagne Deutschland
EE Eesti Estonia Estonie Estland
IE Éire/Ireland Ireland Irlande Irland
EL Elláda Greece Grèce Griechenland
ES España Spain Espagne Spanien
FR France France France Frankreich
HR Hrvatska Croatia Croatie Kroatien
IT Italia Italy Italie Italien
CY Kýpros Cyprus Chypre Zypern
LV Latvija Latvia Lettonie Lettland
LT Lietuva Lithuania Lituanie Litauen
LU Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxemburg
HU Magyarország Hungary Hongrie Ungarn
MT Malta Malta Malte Malta
NL Nederland Netherlands Pays-Bas Niederlande
AT Österreich Austria Autriche Österreich
PL Polska Poland Pologne Polen
PT Portugal Portugal Portugal Portugal
RO România Romania Roumanie Rumänien
SI Slovenija Slovenia Slovénie Slowenien
SK Slovensko Slovakia Slovaquie Slowakei
FI Suomi/Finland Finland Finlande Finnland
SE Sverige Sweden Suède Schweden

The two-letter ISO code is used (ISO 3166 alpha-2) except for Greece for which the abbreviations EL has to be used.

For more information consult the Interinstitutional style guide.

Codes and names of EFTA countries

Code Country language English French German
IS Ísland Iceland Islande Island
LI Liechtenstein Liechtenstein Liechtenstein Liechtenstein
NO Norge Norway Norvège Norwegen
CH Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Switzerland Suisse Schweiz

The two-letter ISO code is used (ISO 3166 alpha-2).

United Kingdom

Code Country language English French German
UK United Kingdom United Kingdom Royaume-Uni Vereinigtes Königreich

Codes and names of candidate countries

Code Country language English French German
ME Crna Gora Montenegro Monténégro Montenegro
MK Северна Македонија North Macedonia Macédoine du Nord Nordmazedonien
AL Shqipëria Albania Albanie Albanien
RS Србија/Srbija Serbia Serbie Serbien
TR Türkiye Turkey Turquie Türkei

The two-letter ISO code is used (ISO 3166 alpha-2).

The Republic of North Macedonia (full name of the country) will be 'North Macedonia' (capital N, never "Northern") in statistical tables and graphs and in plain text. Nationality: Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia Official language: Macedonian language

Codes and names of potential candidates

Code Country language English
BA Bosna i Hercegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
XK Kosovo*

Kosovo should be accompanied by the following footnote: *This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Please note also that, as Kosovo is not recognised by the EU as a country, it is recommended to use the term potential candidates rather than 'potential candidate countries'

Protocol order of countries

In tables

Tables must always respect the protocol order of countries. The following protocol order is to be applied with an appropriate divider between each group (see example 1 below):

  1. EU and EA aggregates;
  2. EU Member States in alphabetical order of their official name (see list above)
  3. EFTA countries in alphabetical order of their official name (IS, LI, NO, CH)
  4. The United Kingdom
  5. Candidate countries in alphabetical order of their official name (see list above)
  6. Potential candidates in alphabetical order of their official name
  7. Other countries outside Europe ( Japan, United States for example)
Example 1

In country tables, all EU countries should be present. Other countries (EFTA, candidate, potential candidate) should only be added if data are available. It is also advised to use the full country names instead of the country codes whenever possible.

In graphs

As for tables, it is advised to use the full country names instead of the country codes.

Graphs sorted by value

It is recommended in graphs to display the countries sorted by value in ascending or descending order. It is also recommended to group the countries as it is done in tables in the following order (see example 2):

  • EU and EA (if relevant) aggregates, followed by a blank space
  • Member States, followed by a blank space
  • EFTA countries, followed by a blank space
  • The United Kingdom, followed by a blank space
  • Candidate countries, followed by a blank space
  • Potential candidates, followed by a blank space
  • Other countries
Example 2

Graphs not sorted by value

If, as an exception to the rule, the graphs are not sorted by value, the protocol order should be used (see example 3):

  • EU and EA (if relevant) aggregates, followed by a blank space
  • EU Member states, followed by a blank space,
  • EFTA countries, followed by a blank space
  • The United Kingdom, followed by a blank space
  • Candidate countries, followed by a blank space
  • Potential candidates, followed by a blank space
  • Other countries.
Example 3

In country graphs, all available EU and EFTA countries should be present. Missing countries should be mentioned in a ‘Note’ under the chart e.g.: Note: xx not available / or not applicable’. Other countries (candidate, potential candidate, other) should only be added if relevant and if data are available.

It is also advised to use the full country names instead of the country codes whenever possible.

In text

Lists of country or region names in text should however not follow the protocol order, for reasons of user-friendliness: they should be in the alphabetical order of the language of the text (the same rule is also applied in tutorials and glossary pages, for instance in the many language versions of Glossary:European Union (EU)). Another option is to mention the countries by statistical order (ranking).

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