First time release of data on NPL
Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes1 for the first time today relevant information on
contingent liabilities and non-performing loans of government. These data have been provided by the EU Member
States in the context of the Enhanced Economic Governance package2 (the “six pack”).
The contingent liabilities published in this release include government guarantees, liabilities related to publicprivate
partnerships recorded off-balance sheet of government and liabilities of government controlled entities
classified outside general government (public corporations). The liabilities are called “contingent” in the sense that
they are by nature only potential and not actual liabilities. Non-performing loans could imply a potential loss for
government if these loans were not repaid. Thus, this new data collection represents a step towards further
transparency of public finances in the EU by giving a more comprehensive picture of EU Member States’ financial
Due to their characteristics, data are country specific and closely linked to national particularities regarding the
economic, financial and legal structure of the country. Furthermore, data coverage is not complete for all the
Member States, as indicated in the attached country footnotes. For these reasons, data presented in this news
release should be interpreted with caution. In particular, for the liabilities of public corporations, the data
comparability is very limited due to the fact that for some Member States data reported is not exhaustive, in some
cases not including the liabilities of financial institutions and/or the liabilities of units controlled by local government.
Several other aspects should be taken into account when analysing the results of the liabilities of public
corporations. Firstly, the data reported for liabilities of public corporations are not consolidated, which means that
part of the liabilities of these units could be towards entities in the same company group. However, the liabilities
between units in the same group are not identifiable from the data reported. Secondly, the data collection only
refers to liabilities without balancing them with the assets. This aspect is very important in the case of financial
institutions which normally have both significant amounts of liabilities and assets. Additionally, for some of the
Member States, most of the liabilities reported by financial institutions concern deposits.