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Eurostat co-ordination role of statistical activities
Regulation N°223/2009 on European statistics (the so-called 'Statistical Law') provides that Eurostat is the statistical authority of the Union. Like national statistical institutes at national level, Eurostat co-ordinates statistical activities at Union level and more particularly inside the Commission.
At Union level, Eurostat ensures the production of European statistics according to established rules and statistical principles, notably those laid down in the European statistics Code of Practice. Eurostat coordinates the statistical activities of the institutions and bodies of the Union, in particular with a view to ensuring consistency and quality of the data and minimising reporting burden.
At Commission level, Eurostat has been specifically entrusted with the task to co-ordinate statistical activities across the Commission. The Decision on Eurostat adopted by the Commission on 17 September 2012 states that Eurostat has in particular to ensure effective cooperation and regular constructive dialogue with other services of the Commission and to coordinate the statistical activities across the Commission.
The specific co-ordination role of Eurostat for statistical activities should not be confused with the more general obligation upon all services of the Commission to co-operate mutually. Such mutual cooperation between Commission services echoes the principle of collegiality governing the work of the Commission as a college. Furthermore this general cooperation principle applies to non-statistical activities, like for instance drawing up policy initiatives or legislative proposals to be adopted by the Commission and put forward to other Union Institutions such as the European Parliament and the Council.
Memorandums of Understanding established with services of the Commission
The Commission decision on Eurostat (Article 5 paragraph 3) refers specifically to inter-service agreements to be established between Eurostat and other services of the Commission for the planning and programming of activities related on the one hand to European statistics and on the other hand to those that are directly produced by the other Commission services outside the European statistical programme (i.e. so-called 'other statistics').
The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is to set the overall framework for cooperation between Eurostat and those services in the Commission that are using European statistics (the policy Directorates-general) or produce their own statistics. The MoU specifies in operational terms their respective roles and responsibilities as regards the production of either 'European statistics' or 'other statistics', the related support needed, the expected changes over a mid-term perspective and their impact on statistical planning.
MoUs are therefore key management tools that help both services to manage mutual expectations and prioritise their needs and level of service, while ensuring consistency of statistical activities across the Commission and fulfilment of the coordination role of Eurostat. They also improve transparency as they clarify the commitments and the accountability of each side. MoUs may also contain specific arrangements for pre-release access under strict conditions and in accordance with the Protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.
The strategic discussion at Directors' level that takes place during the annual hearings offers the opportunity to review the level of cooperation between the two sides and eventually lead to an adaptation of the MoU.
MoUs have been established so far between Eurostat and the following Directorates-general (DGs):
Eurostat-European Central Bank Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure statistics
Following an exchange of high level letters between the European Commission and the ECB, Eurostat and the ECB/Directorate General Statistics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the quality assurance of statistics underlying the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure.
This is a very important step forward in cooperation between the two institutions, and provides a strong practical basis for quality assurance of the relevant statistics produced by National Central Banks, and reported to Eurostat.
Copies of the letters exchanged:
- Letter from the European Commission to ECB, dated 3 November 2016
- Letter from ECB to the European Commission, dated 4 November 2016
Eurostat-ECB MoU on MIP statistics:
Network of statistical correspondents and Interdepartmental group "Coordination of statistics"
Statistical correspondents have been nominated by the DGs to centralise requests from different units in their DG and channel information flows with Eurostat regarding the coordination of statistical information. They meet as a network twice a year to discuss exchange information and facilitate cooperation with Eurostat. Among the subjects addressed by the network are the Eurostat annual work programmes, the statistical inventory and master plan at Commission level, the presentation of Eurostat services, and information about related Eurostat activities or future developments.
The work of the statistical correspondents is complemented at strategic level by the Interdepartmental group "Coordination of statistics" which allows discussions on statistical matters at Directors' level.
Statistical inventory and masterplan
The objective of the statistical inventory (for the current year) and masterplan (plans for the years to come) is to provide an overview of the different statistics produced at Commission level. It also helps facilitates the use of statistics across the Commission and to identify potential synergies and areas of rationalisation.
It comprises the following categories:
- statistics produced directly by the DG;
- statistics commissioned by the DG and produced by an agency;
- statistics commissioned by a DG and produced for the DG by an external contractor;
- statistical indicators (including sets of indicators) produced and disseminated by the DG;
- Databases purchased by the DG from commercial service providers (e.g. Bloomberg, Reuters…);
- statistics from a database received from a non-commercial organisation via subscription (OECD, IMF, National Statistical Institute or National central Bank).
It will be soon updated to also cover statistical indicators (including sets of indicators) produced and disseminated by the DGs.
Stakeholders' meetings are meetings a high-level where both Eurostat and National Statistical Institutes representatives exchange views with Commission's Directorates-general as both key users of European statistics and policy-making actors, on the statistical priorities in the relevant policy field.
Commission's Directorates-general are also invited at regular intervals to exchange with the European Statistical System Committee on issues of common interest.