European statistics produced by members of the European Statistical System (ESS) play a major role in the definition, monitoring and assessment of all EU policies. In 2015, ESS members continued with the process of deepening their cooperation, placing particular emphasis on the development of joint statistical projects of benefit to European data users. As it is impossible to mention all the statistical developments that took place last year, this article concentrates on the most important themes and statistical initiatives undertaken by ESS partners.
Statistics have played a signicant part in the construction of the European Union from the very beginning. In 1953, a statistical service of the European Coal and Steel Community was created. In 1958, when the European Community was founded, it became a Directorate-General of the European Commission.
The expansion of the European Union and the development of new Community policies brought forth an increasing demand for highquality, comparable European statistics. This meant that a closer cooperation between Eurostat and the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) was necessary and thus, at the beginning of the 1990s, the foundations of the European Statistical System (ESS) were laid.
The ESS was constructed as a partnership between Eurostat, the National Statistical Institutes and Other National Authorities (ONAs), i.e. the institutions producing European statistics. Today, the ESS includes the 28 EU Member States and the countries that belong to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Martti Hetemäki has been heading ESGAB since 1 February 2015. Although he is relatively new to the team, he is no stranger to ESGAB. He was personally involved in its creation in 2005 through his role as chair of the Statistics Sub-Committee of the EU’s Economic and Financial Committee.
The 2015 edition of the ESS Report has just been released. This issue includes the main initiatives of the ESS in 2015 and features a joint interview with the Heads of the Statistical Institutes of Latvia and Luxembourg as well as the Head of the European Statistical Governance Advisory Board, who look back at the achievements and challenges of the past year.
Further articles include an outline of the importance of the ESS peer reviews concluded in 2015, the role of the indicators for decision-making and monitoring in the EU, and shed light on the challenges linked to the measurement of international migration.