In February 2005 the Statistical Programme Committee (SPC) favoured the launching of some Cenex pilots and the development of proposals to implement the concept after the pilots are evaluated.
As a result, at the end of 2005, a first pilot Cenex was launched on Statistical Disclosure Control (SDC). The technical evaluation of this Cenex ("Report of the pilot Cenex and reflection on the continuation of these actions") has been presented to SPC on the 15/2/2007 (61st SPC meeting). The positive results proved the potential of the collaborative approach. Two other CENEX have been launched afterwards: on methodology (ISAD: use of administrative and statistical data); and Hedonic Prices.
In September 2006 an internal reflection group was created in Eurostat in order to develop proposals for the implementation of the Cenex concept beyond the pilot phase. The group proposed to replace the name "Cenex", which may be confused with a similar term used in the research framework programmes, by "ESSnet" (Collaborative ESS Networks) that moreover represents more adequately the concept.
In 2008, some new ESSnet projects have been launched: Follow-up of SDC, Decentralised Access to microdata, EU-SILC advanced analysis and the Eurogroups register.
The February 2008 SPC agreed on a document proposed by Eurostat on the future implementation of ESSnet projects (The ESSnet projects- the way forward), and the first ESSnet plan was presented to the May 2008 SPC for comments.
Following the acceptation of the plan, a few projects were launched in 2009: Implementation of SDMX, Common reference architecture, Partnership Health, Improving consistency in the methodology and legal requirements for different areas of business and trade statistics as well as the second phase of the Eurogroups register project.
The second ESSnet plan presenting the ESSnet projects for 2010, the first results of 2008 and 2009 projects and the future ESSnet orientations for 2011 and beyond was validated by the ESSC meeting of 14th of May 2009.
The ESSNet action plan presented to ESSC in May 2010 presents 18 projects to be started in 2010 (of which 4 were not presented to ESSC in 2009) and forecasted already 15 more in 2011 (of which 7 are continuations of previous projects).
The ESSnet 2011 action plan was presented to the May 2011 ESSC.