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Quality of Public Finances

Improving the quality of public finances is a key part of the growth agenda for Europe. While maintaining fiscal discipline and a sustainable fiscal position, greater attention should be paid to the quality of public finances. This would help to raise the growth and employment potential of the EU economies and to contribute to budget consolidation.

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Whilst recognising that the quality of public finances is the responsibility of the Member States, it is important to work towards improving the measurement and the analysis of the quality of public finances, especially within the framework of the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines.

Scope

The mandate of the Group is to develop a more systematic analysis and to define a broader foundation for the analysis of the quality of public finances in the framework of the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPG) and the revised Stability and Growth Pact. This goes also hand in hand with the improvement of data availability, particularly of the Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) Level I and II.

Main tasks

The Group focuses on:

  • the efficiency, and efectiveness of public expenditures, by
    • exploring the scope for further analyses of efficiency and effectiveness across Member States and the EU in different areas of public spending;
    • participating in work streams in various international fora to improve the measurement of public sector output and efficiency/effectiveness,
  • the structure and efficiency of public revenues, by regular economic analysis of revenue trends and reforms of tax systems, and
  • fiscal governance frameworks, by regular reviews, strengthening the analysis and exchanging views on the institutional framework for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public finances. This also includes evaluation systems and public spending reviews. The overal aim is to improve the understanding of the different approaches used to underpin public budgets.

Participation

Members of this Working Group will be expert staff working on public expenditure and fiscal policy analysis and budget planning in the national administrations, the European Commission and the ECB. The OECD and the IMF also participate as observers and are encouraged to provide input. The Group will avail itself of other experts from national or international academia or administrations, as appropriate.

Interactions with the work carried out by other groups

The Working Group on the Quality of Public Finances will liaise closely with the Ageing Group, and the Country Reviews Working Group, as appropriate.

Last update: 21 December 2011 |Top