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European GFS and IMF GFS

In 2014, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a revised version of the Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM 2014). Concepts and principles set out in the GFSM 2014 are harmonized with those of the 2008 SNA.

The GFS framework pertains to the general government and public sectors as defined in the 2008 SNA. Despite harmonization of the GFS framework with the 2008 SNA, there are differences between the two statistical frameworks because of the different analytic purposes they serve. The most important difference is that the focus of the GFS framework is the impact of economic events on government finances - taxing, spending, borrowing, and lending - while the 2008 SNA also focuses on the production and consumption of goods and services.

As a result, the treatment of government production activities in GFS differs from the treatment of those activities in the 2008 SNA. Significant differences relate to the treatment of own-account capital formation, and the degree of consolidation. In addition, the recording of pension schemes for government employees may be different from the 2008 SNA in some circumstances (see Appendix 7 of the GFSM 2014 for more details on the relationship between GFS and other macroeconomic statistics).

The European GFS published by Eurostat and the IMF's GFS share in common:

  • Sectorisation of institutional units
  • Valuation principles: market valuation of flows and stocks
  • Time of recording on accrual basis
  • Split between non-financial and financial accounts
  • Stock-flow articulation: transactions, revaluations and other changes in volumes
  • Emphasis on consolidated data

See: Government Finance Statistics Manual of the IMF (GFSM 2014)

Other institutions

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD publishes GFS data reported by its members and this is particularly useful for comparing European countries with other major economic powers (e.g. Japan) within a common framework.

United Nations (UN)

The UN plays a strong role in harmonisation of methodology. The following two publications are of particular note for GFS.

European Central Bank (ECB)

The ECB publishes Euro-area GFS data in its Monthly Bulletin.

International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)

The Board is responsible for developing harmonised standards for the public sector.