European Council drafts stricter rules on deficit, debt statistics

European Council drafts stricter rules on deficit, debt statistics

The Council of the European Union has agreed on what  on a "general approach" on a draft regulation aimed at strengthening the rules on statistical data used under the EU's excessive deficit procedure. The aim, according to a media statement on June 8 2010, is to allow the European Commission and EU member states to "work together more effectively in improving the quality and reliability of statistical data used to determine government deficit and debt figures". This follows recurrent discrepancies and shortcomings in figures notified to the Commission by Greece in relation to its public finances, and repeated calls by the Council for it to improve the collection and processing of its statistical data. Existing provisions enable EU statistical office Eurostat to regularly assess the quality both of data reported by the member states and of underlying government sector accounts. "Quality of data implies compliance with accounting rules, as well as the completeness, reliability, timeliness and consistency of statistical data," the media statement said. The draft regulation, according to the statement, is intended to strengthen the role of Eurostat when verifying the quality of data in cases where significant risks or problems with respect to the quality of the data have been clearly identified. The regulation will be adopted at a forthcoming European Council meeting, once the European Parliament has submitted its opinion, the statement said.

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