The sovereign debt crisis has underlined the need for more rigorous, transparent and comparable reporting of fiscal data. Council Directive 2011/85/EU (the Budgetary Frameworks Directive) sets out the rules on Member State budgetary frameworks necessary to ensure compliance with the Treaty obligation to avoid excessive government deficits. In this context it requested the Commission to assess the suitability of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) for the Member States.
The European Commission has forwarded its assessment to the Council and European Parliament. The report, which is accompanied by a staff working document, is based on information received through consultations with Commission services, international organisations, Member States’ experts and other interested parties. It concludes that, even if IPSAS cannot be implemented in EU Member States as it stands currently, the IPSAS standards represent an indisputable reference for potential development of European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS), based on a strong EU governance system.
For the full text of the report, the staff working document and the supporting study see:
A Conference was held on 29-30 May 2013 in Brussels at which Mr Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-fraud, brought together high-level stakeholders and decision makers from public sector accounting, auditing and statistics to discuss the future development of harmonised government accounting standards in Europe.
Following the keynote speech of Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. the conference discussed the importance of developing economic governance in the context of the current economic situation and the need for transparent and comparable fiscal data and underlying public accounts. It also covered key issues for accounting harmonisation in the EU and examples of the experience of some countries in modernising their public sector accounting and financial reporting. The conference concluded with a roundtable on lessons learned, best practices and the next steps to be taken.
Public Consultations launched by Eurostat on IPSAS and EPSAS
To ensure that all stakeholders might express views, Eurostat has launched two public consultation exercises:
- Assessment of the suitability of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards for the Member States - Public consultation
Period of consultation: From 17/02/2012 to 11/05/2012 (closed).
The European Commission carried out an assessment on the suitability of IPSAS for EU Member States during 2012 and Eurostat took the lead on the assessment and launched a public consultation exercise open to all those would like to contribute to the assessment. The assessment of the suitability of IPSAS for EU Member States has its origin in the context of the need to strengthen budgetary and fiscal framework for EU Member States. It is called for in the Council Directive 2011/85/EU on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States, as adopted by the Council on 8 November 2011.
The document put to public consultation, the results of the consultation and the individual replies received from stakeholders, can be found here:
- Towards implementing European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) for EU Member States - Public consultation on future EPSAS governance principles and structures
Period of consultation: From 25/11/2013 to 17/02/2014 (closed).
The issue of the governance for a future EPSAS was identified as a priority for follow-up after the conference held to discuss the development of EPSAS in Brussels in May 2013. The conference was itself organised to take forward the Commission’s report to the Council and the Parliament "Towards implementing harmonised public sector accounting standards in the Member States: The suitability of International Public Sector accounting Standards (IPSAS) for the Member States", issued in March 2013.
The public consultation document and questions can be found here:
Task Force EPSAS Governance was created to exchange views with the Member States’ authorities on possible future governance arrangements and underlying key principles of EPSAS. The Task Force should assist Eurostat to identify the key issues for EPSAS governance; discuss how to balance those issues, and thereby assist Eurostat to develop a model for the EPSAS governance structure.
Task Force EPSAS Standards
Task Force EPSAS Standards was created to exchange views with the Member States’ authorities on technical aspects of the standards. The Task Force should assist Eurostat to: 1) analyse the most contentious IPSASs and address the concrete difficulties encountered with some of the IPSASs in practice, and ways to overcome them; 2) analyse the possibility to reduce burden, and complexity of the standards for small public entities; 3) discuss the implementation of standards via a progressive batched approach.
Documentation for Task Force EPSAS Governance and Task Force EPSAS Standards is available in our Circabc website: