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 is the partnership between the Community statistical authority, which is the Commission (Eurostat), and the national statistical institutes (NSIs) and other national authorities responsible in each Member State for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics. This Partnership also includes the EEA and EFTA countries.
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, and 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.