10.12.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics contain data on Finland’s general government deficit and debt. The EU Member States report twice a year to the European Commission on the EDP deficit and debt data used in the context of the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact to assess Member States’ budgetary position. This reporting is part of the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). The deficit reporting is based on the EU system of national accounts (ESA 2010) and the separate Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 (last amended by Regulation (EU) No 220/2014). The data provided by the various countries are comparable.

The statistics contain data on Finland’s general government deficit and gross debt, and on factors causing changes in them, and data on the differences between EDP deficits and budget deficits of central government, local government and social security funds.

Statistical population

The statistical population comprises all units of general government. A list of the units can be found here: https://www.stat.fi/meta/luokitukset/_linkki/soveltamisp.html (only in Finnish).

Statistical unit

The statistics cover general government, which is divided into central government, local government and social security funds. A list of all general government units can be found here: https://www.stat.fi/meta/luokitukset/_linkki/soveltamisp.html (only in Finnish).

Unit of measure

The figures in the statistics are presented at current prices (in EUR million).

Base period

All time series are at current prices.

Reference period

The reference period of statistics is a calendar year.

Reference area

The reference area for the statistics is the whole of Finland.

Sector coverage

The statistics comprise all units of Finland’s general government in central government, local government and social security funds, as specified in ESA 2010.

EDP surplus/deficit corresponds to the general government net lending/borrowing calculated in the national accounts (ESA 2010).

The EDP debt concept differs from ESA 2010 in terms of valuation and scope. In the ESA 2010-compliant financial accounts, financial assets and liabilities are valued at market value, while the EDP debt is valued at nominal value. Derivatives, trade credits and accrued liabilities are the ESA 2010-compliant financial claims that are not included in the debt.

Time coverage

The time series on the EDP deficit and debt are available from 1975 onwards. Most of the time series are comparable from one year to the next.

Frequency of dissemination

Preliminary data on national accounts for the preceding year are published at the beginning of March. If more detailed source data become available during March, the data can be updated at the end of April. Revised figures are published in October.

Deficit and debt data are reported to the European Commission twice yearly on the basis of the annual national accounts (at the end of March and September). The statistics on general government deficit and debt are published in April and October after the data have been checked by Eurostat.

The data are considered preliminary until the national accounts are final (they are usually finalised two years after the end of the statistical year).

Changes in the data may still be made after this in connection with time series checks necessitated by methodological changes.

Concepts

Consolidated financial balance/flows

Financial assets and liabilities can be presented in consolidated form, i.e., after elimination of intra-sectorial transactions within sub-sectors (e.g. debts between municipalities) and between sub-sectors (including municipalities' debts to the state, employment pension corporations and other social security institutions within the general government sector). Consolidated data only show the relative positions of the sectors.

ESA 2010

ESA 2010 = European System of Accounts 2010, the EU's revised Regulation that steers the compilation of economic statistics.

General government debt

General government debt is general government sector consolidated gross debt valued at nominal value, and it is also known as EDP debt (= Excessive Deficit Proce-dure).

It comprises bonds, short-term securities, short-term and long-term loans and deposits received by general government from other sectors of the national economy or from the rest of the world. The EDP debt concept used in reporting according to the European Union's Growth and Stability Pact differs from that of ESA 2010 with regard to valuation and coverage. Finan-cial assets and liabilities are valued at market value in ESA 2010-compliant financial accounts, whereas general government EDP debt is valued at nominal value. Of the financial claims in ESA 2010, for example, deriva-tives, trade credits and advances are not included in the loan stock.

General government deficit

General government deficit also called EDP deficit (= Excessive Deficit Procedure), corresponds with the general government net lending/borrowing in the national accounts.

Gross debt

Financial assets have no impact on total gross debt.

Net lending/net borrowing

Net lending/borrowing is a balancing item in the capital account and the fi-nancial account.

Net lending/borrowing corresponds to the amount available to a unit or sec-tor for financing, directly or indirectly, other units or sectors, or the amount which a unit or sector is obliged to borrow from other units or sectors.

The corresponding concept to net lending/borrowing in financial accounts is financial transactions, net. It is the difference between net acquisition of fi-nancial assets and liabilities. If a sector acquires financial assets in excess of the amount of new debt incurred during the period it is a net lender.

Non-consolidated financial balance/flows

Financial assets and liabilities can be presented in non-consolidated form, i.e. all transactions are shown in full, including intra-sectorial and intra-sub-sectorial transactions. Intra-sectorial transactions in sectors consisting of a single institutional unit are nevertheless eliminated (e.g. borrowing within the central government sector). Intra-sectorial transactions do not have any impact on the sector's net worth or net lending.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The revision tables of the statistics are published within the publications of the statistic.

Timeliness

The data are reported twice yearly to the European Commission in accordance with the transmission programme (at the end of March and September). The data are published three weeks later, after Eurostat has checked the statistics.

Punctuality

Good practice requires that the dates on which national accounts data become available are pre-announced and that the pre-announced publication dates are met.

National accounts data transmissions in the framework of the ESA 2010 transmission programme should be punctually delivered to Eurostat on the date set out in the transmission programme (or before).

Statistics Finland frequently transmits data to Eurostat ahead of the legal deadlines.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The statistical data are comparable with the data reported by other EU Member States.

Comparability - over time

The data for all periods contained in the statistics have been collected in accordance with the same ESA 2010 definitions, which means that the data are comparable for the whole length of the time series.

Coherence - cross domain

Within the system of national accounts there is full consistency between the domains: annual and quarterly national accounts, government accounts, sector accounts, financial accounts, regional accounts, supply and use tables. However, in practice full consistency may not always be possible and temporary discrepancies might occur. The differences are usually caused by different release lags in different sub-areas.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistics are mainly derived from other statistics. National accounts and financial accounts data on general government are the main data sources used in the compilation of the statistics. Reports prepared by the State Treasury, financial and operating statistics of municipalities and joint municipal authorities, and financial statements of social security funds are used as complementary sources.

Data collection

The data sources are described in the methodological descriptions of the statistics Methodological descriptions.

Frequency of data collection

Depending on the source data, data are collected on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. The data for the most recent year released in spring are largely based on preliminary figures, while final data (such as financial statements) are already available for the statistics released in the autumn.

Methods

Data compilation

The data in the statistics are derived from the national accounts for the year in question.

Data validation

The data are validated horizontally and vertically in connection with compiling and reporting. Quality of the deficit and debt data is closely monitored by the European Commission. In connection with each transmission of data to the European Commission, Eurostat reviews the data of the Member States for a period of approximately three weeks; in this context, the data may also be updated.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Economic Statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation 

The deficit reporting is based on the EU system of national accounts (ESA 2010) and the regulation (EC) No 479/2009 (last amended by regulation (EU) No 220/2014). The data provided by the various countries are comparable. Manual on Government Deficit and Debt – Implementation of ESA 2010 and the separate decisions of Eurostat on the processing of certain operations concerning general government finances are also important documents used in the compilation of the statistics on general government finances used as a basis for the Finnish statistics.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

Confidentiality - data treatment

The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. The unit-specific data of the calculation data must be kept confidential. Data are only handled by persons who need the data in their work. The use of data is restricted by usage rights. The statistics are compiled by processing a large number of different statistics and other data sources.

The aggregation of data in the process, the compilation time evaluation related to data quality, detailed prioritisation of sources and measures related to total level balancing produce an end result that does not enable the identification of individual data producers.

All parties compiling statistics on general government deficit and debt have signed a pledge of secrecy, under which they are obliged to keep secret the data prescribed as confidential under the Statistics Act or the Act on the Openness of Government Activities.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland 

Data sharing

The statistical data are published twice yearly on the website of the statistics. The contents of the deficit and debt report prepared for the European Commission are published on the website of the statistics. The report also contains the forecasts for general government deficit and debt for the year in progress prepared by the Ministry of Finance.

The Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat also publishes the data on its own website.
A description of the methods used in the compilation of the statistics can be viewed on the website of the statistics.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service. 

The statistical data are published twice yearly on the website of the statistics. The contents of the deficit and debt report prepared for the European Commission are published on the website of the statistics. The report also contains the forecasts for general government deficit and debt for the year in progress prepared by the Ministry of Finance.

Eurostat also publishes the data on its own website.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions. 

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before. 

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data. 

Quality assessment

Quality of the deficit and debt data is closely monitored by the European Commission. As the statistics have been mostly derived from other statistics, its reliability crucially depends on the quality of its source statistics. As the data are largely based on the national accounts and financial accounts, such figures as GDP ratios always change when GDP figures are revised. For more details of the revision of the national accounts and financial accounts, see the websites of these statistics. In connection with each transmission of data to the EU Commission, Eurostat reviews the data of the Member States for a period of approximately three weeks; in this connection, the data may also be updated. The deficit and debt data used as source statistics mainly comprise financial statements of general government actors and administrative documents. There is little under-coverage as nearly all main data sources are based on total data.

Little final data are available for preliminary releases and for this reason, they are less accurate than later releases.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data. 

Statistical experts

Lotta Sjöblom
Senior Statistician
029 551 3342

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