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Improving the Quality of Public Finances (QPF) has become a new focus for European policy makers. This focus is largely a response to preparing the European economies for the dual challenge of ageing populations and increased exposure to global competition. Better QPF can help tackle both challenges: either directly through fiscal consolidation, pension and expenditure reforms or indirectly by creating conditions in support of long-term growth as expenditure and revenue systems becomes more efficient and less distortionary. At the EU level, the Stability and Growth Pact and the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs provide, in principle, the appropriate tools for fostering such policies, but in practice both instruments have not yet focused much on QPF which is a common component of both tools.
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