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European Commission


Brussels, 13 March 2013

Commissioner Šemeta welcomes EP vote on the revision of the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010)

Algirdas Šemeta, European Commissioner responsible for Statistics, has welcomed the European Parliament's endorsement today of the proposed Regulation on ESA 2010. This will allow a revised methodological framework for national accounts data, adapted to today's economies, to be used in compiling data for economic policy and other administrative purposes in the EU.

Commissioner Šemeta said: "This updated methodology for compiling national accounts is an important contribution to reinforcing economic governance in the EU. ESA 2010 will be the rulebook that Member States should follow in compiling government data. It will be an essential tool in measuring the economic performance of both the Member States and the Union as a whole, as well as for assessing our progress under the Strategy for growth and jobs. Robust methodology, uniformly applied, is essential if we are to have harmonised, credible and comparable statistics. Therefore, the Parliament's vote in favour of ESA 2010 is another step in solidifying the European statistical system, so that crucial policy decisions are based on sound data. "


What is the ESA 2010?

The European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA) sets down the harmonised methodology which must be used by for the production of national accounts data in the EU. It is crucial to have such a harmonised methodology, in order to ensure that statistics on Member States' economies are compiled in a consistent, comparable, reliable and up-to-date way.

ESA defines the concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules which have to be followed in compiling national accounts. The ESA is internationally compatible, making it possible to describe the total economy of a region, country or group of countries, in a way that is reliably comparable with other total economies.

The proposed Regulation on ESA 2010 aims to revise, update and improve the current methodological framework for producing public accounts data (ESA 95). It aims to align the EU system with the recently updated international System of National Accounts, and to take into account new characteristics of EU economies such as new industries and products, the impact of globalisation and the expansion of financial services, as well as advances in methodological research.

Main changes

The main methodological changes made under ESA 2010 are:

- Recognition that expenditure on research and development has the nature of investment. Research and development expenditure is recorded as gross fixed capital formation and no longer as current expenditure. This will increase EU gross domestic product by around 1.6%. The identification and treatment of research and development expenditure as investment is very important in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.

A more detailed analysis of pension schemes is presented. A compulsory supplementary table will transparently show the liabilities of all pension schemes, including those of government whether unfunded or funded, in order to improve comparability between countries.

The new ESA 2010 transmission programme will allow an improved monitoring of economic changes in the next 15 years.

Next Steps

The Regulation will be formally adopted by the Council in the coming months, so that ESA 2010 can be implemented by Member States in September 2014.

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