MEETS programme - priorities and new sets of indicators

This article is part of an online publication presenting the results of the European Commission programme 'Modernisation of European Enterprise and Trade Statistics', or MEETS for short, which ran from 2009 to 2013 with the objectives of adjusting European business statistics to new needs and reducing the burden on enterprises.

The article focuses on the programme's actions 1.1 (Identifying areas of lesser importance) and 1.2. In a changing world, statistical needs have to be reviewed, because new needs emerge (action 1.2) and others become less important or even obsolete (action 1.1). 

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Action 1.1: Identifying areas of lesser importance

To identify areas of lesser importance, two actions were undertaken, a study on legal acts and a so-called 'filter exercise'.

Study on legal acts on business statistics identified for revision by Member States

In 2009 an external study evaluating legal acts in areas of statistics identified for revision was subcontracted. The study revealed a considerable degree of consistency in concepts and definitions between closely related fields but also identified some stand-alone projects and a number of inconsistencies. The study was the basis for the work of the European Statistical System Networks (ESSnet) on Consistency of concepts and methods of business and trade related statistics (objective 2).


Filter exercise

The filter exercise was carried out by Eurostat in close co-operation with National Statistical Institutes (NSIs). It identified which legal acts or parts of legal acts in the area of business statistics should be looked at more closely. For Structural business statistics (SBS) a number of variables to be deleted were validated by the European Statistical Advisory Committee (ESAC). For Short-term statistics (STS) the user consultation was carried out in the context of the rolling reviews in this area, consisting of a user survey, a survey among NSIs and a process review in Eurostat. The proposals for both data collections were referred back to the relevant working groups.

In 2010 the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC) adopted a new strategy-driven approach where the areas of lesser importance in business and trade statistics were identified within the framework of the annual strategic review of Eurostat’s priorities. Consequently, this action was removed from the responsibilities of the MEETS programme.

Action 1.2: Developing new areas

Globalisation and entrepreneurship are policy areas for which statistics are not yet full developed. In the area of globalisation two main projects were launched, while a third one focused on entrepreneurship.

Statistics on enterprise groups

The aim of the project “development of statistics on enterprise groups” was to identify useful and meaningful indicators based on enterprise groups as the observation unit and to test the feasibility of collecting these indicators. A study was carried out to identify useful and meaningful statistical indicators based on the small and medium sized enterprise group as observation unit. In addition, methodological work was launched in the priority area “intra-group trade” and “research, development and innovation”.

The outcome of the project was a set of recommendations on how best to collect the data in the two areas concerned as well as a methodological basis for ESS data collection on enterprise groups via parent companies. An initial assessment of this methodological work will be integrated in the activities of the ESSnet on 'Profiling of Large and Complex Multinational Enterprise Groups' (objective 2).


Economic indicators on globalisation

A study on globalisation indicators availability, data collection and dissemination of the information was launched to analyse the availability and calculation methods of indicators proposed in the OECD Handbook on Economic Globalisation Indicators

Further methodological work and the organisation of the pilot data collection to test the feasibility of economic globalisation indicators took place within the framework of the ESSnet on Measuring Global Value Chains (objective 3).


Entrepreneurship

To underpin policies related to entrepreneurship, indicators such as business demography and employer business demography have been developed in cooperation with the OECD in the frame of the joint Entrepreneurship Indicators Programme (EIP).

Two groups of determinants of entrepreneurial activity recognised within the EIP, knowledge creation and diffusion, and culture and capabilities have been investigated during workshops. External finance is essential for all enterprises to increase productivity, innovation, conquer new markets or, more generally, to create employment and wealth; easy access to finance is especially crucial, however, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

A survey on access to finance in the European Union (EU) coordinated by Eurostat allowed for the first time an analysis of the situation based on statistical data of a sound quality. Provisions for mandatory data collection on employer and high-growth enterprises within the ESS have been laid down and will come into force in the first half of 2014.

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