International statistical cooperation - European Neighbourhood Policy
From Statistics Explained
This article is part of a set of background articles introducing the international statistical cooperation of the European Union (EU) with non-EU countries and it focuses on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which is a joint initiative of the EU and its neighbours.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is different from the processes linked to EU enlargement, although it does not prejudge how the relationship of the neighbouring countries with the EU may develop in the future. Therefore, rather than attempting to comply with the acquis, the ENP countries are encouraged in their actions to get closer to European and international standards and to improve the availability and quality of statistics.
The Lisbon Treaty commits the European Union (EU) to 'develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation'. For that purpose 'the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned' (Art. 8 of the Treaty on European Union).
Bilateral action plans between the EU and each ENP partner set out an agenda of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities, usually for a period of 3 to 5 years. When the first action plans expire, succession plans are usually adopted. However, it is important to note that not all ENP countries have such bilaterally agreed action plans.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is about working together with the countries which share a common land or sea border with the EU in order to increase the prosperity, stability and security of the EU’s neighbours. The geographical regions concerned are: Eastern Europe, South Caucasus (referred to as ‘ENP-East’) and the South shore of the Mediterranean (referred to as ‘ENP-South’). This ENP framework is open to 16 of EU's closest neighbours. The ‘ENP-East’ countries are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The ‘ENP-South’ countries are: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria and Tunisia.
Role of statistics in ENP
International statistical cooperation has gradually become an integral part of broader development policies. Statistics help improving the governance of countries through the development of evidence-based policy making, transparency and democratic processes. The role of statistics in the ENP is to provide the foundations for a better monitoring – by the European External Action Services (EEAS) and the Directorate-General for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy – of the mutual commitments and objectives stipulated in the action plans.
The role of Eurostat in the ENP and the forms of cooperation between Eurostat and the ENP partners
In cooperation with ENP partners, Eurostat has the responsibility ‘to promote and implement the use of European and internationally recognised standards and methodology for the production of statistics, necessary for developing and monitoring of policy achievements in all policy areas’.
A picture of the national statistical systems of the ENP partners is carried out through an external assessment (e.g. Adapted global assessment) or self-assessment (e.g. through the Statistical management information system – SMIS+) and orientations for future actions and technical assistance given. The ultimate objective is to improve the availability and the quality of the statistics in ENP countries.
Eurostat undertakes the task of coordinating EU efforts to increase the statistical capacity of all ENP countries. Support is organised either through multi-beneficiary programmes (e.g. MEDSTAT programme for ENP-South countries) or through bilateral programmes. In addition, European Neighbourhood Policy countries can take advantage of the twinning programmes and the Technical Assistance Exchange Instrument (TAIEX). As of 1 January 2007, the European Neighbourhood Policy has been financed through a single instrument - the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).
Statistical cooperation with ENP countries has already resulted in a wide range of improvements, to the benefit of both the partner countries and the EU.
Through the improvement of statistical capacities and sharing knowledge, the ENP countries and Eurostat now exchange thousands of verified and harmonised data points on a voluntary and annual basis.
The annual data collection cycles that have been established (one for the ENP-East countries and one for the ENP-South countries) end with the publication of statistics for each of the participating ENP countries (Libya excluded). For maximum transparency, all data and associated publications are available free-to-view and download from Eurostat's website.
The main publications are:
- Databases (either in the ENP-East domain or the ENP-South domain);
- Annual pocketbooks which include comparative tables and figures on a full range of themes covered by the data collection for the ENP-South countries (Euro-Mediterranean statistics)
- Country profiles which provide a summary overview of the latest socio-economic indicators for the ENP-South countries (in development for the ENP-East countries).
- Enlargement countries - statistical overview - online publication
- International statistical cooperation - online publication
Further Eurostat information
- Pocketbook on Euro-Mediterranean statistics – 2012 edition
- Pocketbook on Euro-Mediterranean statistics – 2013 edition
- Eastern European Neighbourhood Policy countries (ENP-East) (enpr)
- Southern European Neighbourhood Policy countries (ENP-South) (med)
- SEC(2011)650, Joint Staff working paper, A Medium Term Programme for a renewed European Neighbourhood Policy (2011-2014)