The crisis showed that more rigorous, transparent and comparable reporting of fiscal data is crucial at the European level. In addition, it is paramount for Member States to fulfil their obligation to avoid excessive government deficits as laid down in the Treaty, as accounting practices vary substantially across Member States, regions and local authorities. Thus, the European Commission (Eurostat) is examining the potential development of harmonised accruals- based public-sector accounting standards at European level – the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) – based upon the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
These principles are the OECD reference for assessing budgeting / public financial management (PFM) system in place at national or sub-national government levels.
The PEFA Programme is a partnership programme of the World Bank, the European Commission, the UK Department of International Development, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Monetary Fund. Established in 2001, it aims at improving country public financial management (PFM) system performance for strengthened economic growth and government services delivery.
The PFM Performance Measurement Framework ("the PEFA Framework") provides a powerful instrument for benchmarking and analysing the performance of country systems for managing public finances, and is also a useful tool to guide governments and their international development partners in making informed decisions on country PFM reform programs, as well as guiding donor decisions on the use of country systems.