The statistics published by Eurostat often include countries in and around Europe which are not Member States of the European Union (EU). This is explained by the fact that statistical cooperation takes place with non-EU countries which are either members of the European Statistical System, or are associated with the EU enlargement or European neighbourhood policies.
European Statistical System
The European Statistical System (ESS) is the partnership between the Community statistical authority, which is the Commission (Eurostat), and the national statistical institutes and other national authorities responsible in each EU Member State for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics.
This partnership also includes the four countries represented by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are ESS members through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement; Switzerland is an ESS member through a bilateral agreement.
EFTA's Statistical Office is located in the premises of Eurostat and acts as a liaison office between the national statistical institutes of the EU Member States, Eurostat and the national statistical institutes of the three EEA-EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). In the field of statistical technical cooperation, EFTA's Statistical Office represents Swtizerland, in addition to Iceland, Liectenstein and Norway.
EU Enlargement Policy
Outside of the ESS, several countries have the staus of being "candidate countries" and are waiting to join the EU, while others are potential candidates. The current candidate countries are Montenegro; the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Albania; Serbia and Turkey. The potential candidates are Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99).
Eurostat follows the progress of candidate and potential candidates in complying with the EU acquis in the field of statistics and collects and publishes data from these countries. In addition, Eurostat provides technical assistance and support to the national statistical institutes of each candidate and potential candidate country to enable them to produce and disseminate harmonised data of high quality according to European standards.
European Neighbourhood Policy
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was launched in 2003 and developed throughout 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all. The main objective of the cooperation in statistics with ENP countries is to set up a continuing process of statistical harmonization to allow gradual convergence towards harmonised and comparable economic and social data as well as to increase compliance with European and international standards.
Sixteen countries are covered by the ENP, which can be divided into two regional groups:
ENP-East countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
ENP-South countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.
In statistical publications, Eurostat normally lists countries according to the country group they belong to (EU Member State, EFTA State, candidate country or potential candidate country).
More details on the topics covered in this article are available through the following links:
New Eurostat web pages on international cooperation, covering candidate and potential candidate countries, European Neighbourhood Policy countries and international statistical cooperation.
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