In May 2010 the European System Statistical Committee adopted a joint ESS strategy for the implementation of the Commission Communication on the production method for EU statistics.
The objective of the “Vision” is to improve the efficiency of European statistics by reforming their production methods. According to the Vision paper, Eurostat and the national statistical institutes (NSIs) need to adapt their products and services in order to satisfy users and continue to play a relevant role in EU policy-making.
The main idea is to move away from the traditional way of producing statistics in silos, or 'stovepipes', to a more integrated production model. The current stovepipe production model is not well adapted to collecting data on phenomena that cover multiple dimensions, such as climate change or globalisation. The current model is also costly and less efficient, as it does not make use of standardisation between areas and collaboration between Member States. By avoiding duplication of work Eurostat and the NSIs will increase efficiency, reduce burden on respondents and cut the cost of compiling statistics.
Another important element is to better understand and respond to user needs. For many users statistical information is abstract and the more complex the production and methodologies become, the more it is necessary to explain the results. New ways of communicating with users should also be explored.
In 2005 Eurostat and the statistical authorities of the EU Member States committed themselves to adhere to the European Statistics Code of Practice, which sets out 15 key principles for the production and dissemination of European Statistics and the Code is now anchored in the European Statistical Law.
The implementation of the Code follows a self-regulatory approach and a set of indicators of good practice for each of the 15 principles provides a reference for reviewing its implementation. National Statistical Institutes and Eurostat undertook self-assessments in 2005 covering all the principles of the Code. These self-assessments were then followed up by Peer Reviews between 2006 and 2008, which focused on the institutional environment and the dissemination of statistics.
The European Statistical Governance Advisory Board (ESGAB) provides an independent overview of the European Statistical System regarding the implementation of the Code of Practice and its recommendations, together with those of the Peer Reviews, are monitored on an annual basis.
More information on the Code and on how it is being implemented in Eurostat and in Member States is available in the Quality section of the Eurostat website.
The Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on European statistics constitutes the legal basis for the preparation of the European statistical programme, providing the framework for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics, the main fields and the objectives of the actions envisaged for a period not exceeding five years. The current programme covers the period 2013-2017. It was established by the Council Decision 1578/2007/EC of 11 December 2007. The five-year programmes are backed up by annual programmes that set more detailed objectives for each year.
The Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on European statistics and the Communication on the improvement of coordination of statistical work, adopted by the Commission on 21 February 1996 (SEC (96) 253/4 of 15 February 1996), provide for the Commission adoption of an annual statistical work programme.
The European Statistics Annual Work Programme comprises the priorities of the ESS as regards the statistical work for 2014. It implements the Multi Annual Work Programme 2013–2017 that was established by the Regulation (EU) No 99/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2013.
Eurostat does not work alone. Since the early days of the Community it was realised that decisions on and planning and implementation of Community policies must be based on reliable and comparable statistics. So the European Statistical System (ESS) was built up gradually with the objective of providing comparable statistics at EU level.
The ESS comprises Eurostat and the statistical offices, ministries, agencies and central banks that collect official statistics in EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Member States collect data and compile statistics for national and EU purposes. The ESS functions as a network in which Eurostat’s role is to lead the way in the harmonization of statistics in close cooperation with the national statistical authorities. ESS work concentrates mainly on EU policy areas - but, with the extension of EU policies, harmonization has been extended to nearly all statistical fields.
The ESS also coordinates its work with candidate countries, at European level with other Commission services, agencies and the ECB and international organisations such as OECD, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.