Stability and convergence programmes
The Stability and Convergence Programmes (SCPs) contain medium-term fiscal and macroeconomic projections for at least three years ahead. So, if t is the year of submission of the SCP, t+1, t+2 and t+3 represent the years of the medium-term projections. The SCPs also contain first release data for fiscal and macroeconomic variables in year t – i.e. the first information for the current year –, and outturn data for the previous year t-1.
This dataset makes available Member States' projections at the time of SCPs' submission since December 1998 to the latest SCPs vintage. It consists of annual observations on general government balance, general government debt, general government revenues and general government expenditure all expressed as a percentage of GDP, by Member State; annual observations on real GDP growth, nominal GDP growth and GDP deflator by Member State are also included. It also covers the main expenditure components, i.e. interest expenditure, subsidies, gross fixed capital formation and social transfers.
Therefore, this dataset shows how Member States' plans for a given budgetary variable evolve from the moment when this variable is first covered by the medium-term budgetary projections three years in advance, until ex-post outturn data are available.
Let us assume for instance that a Member State submitted its first SCP in 1998 and the headline deficit is the variable of interest. Then, as of 2001 the dataset allows to compare the headline deficit target for that year as planned in the SCPs of the previous three years 1998, 1999 and 2000, as envisaged in spring of that same year 2001, and as it turned out according to the value submitted in the 2002 SCP. Therefore, for the years covered, this dataset allows tracing back the complete medium-term budgetary process – since the first time a given variable for a given year is incorporated in the government's budgetary projections, until outturn data are already available –.
Some clarifications should be made regarding its construction:
- As the EU Member States joined the Union at different points in time, for certain countries the series are shorter than for others.
- Although the SCPs were first introduced in the EU's economic governance in 1998, it was only with the adoption by the Council of a Code of Conduct on the content and format of SCPs in July 2001 that the SCPs acquired a more standardized structure. This implies that not all SCPs contain full and detailed information with the consequent gaps in the series.
- Some Member States used to forecast the relevant variables under several scenarios (namely a baseline scenario together with an "optimistic" and/or "pessimistic" one). In these cases, the baseline or the more cautious scenario is considered.
- The SCPs submission deadline changed in 2009, from the end of the year to April. The transition between these two submission dates implied that no SCPs were submitted in the year 2010, and therefore outturn data for 2009 were not reported in any SCP.