What the Commission is doing

Eurostat's main role is to process and publish comparable statistical information at European level. We try to arrive at a common statistical 'language' that embraces concepts, methods, structures and technical standards.

Eurostat does not collect data. This is done in EU coutnries by their statistical authorities. They verify and analyse national data and send them to Eurostat. Eurostat's role is to consolidate the data and ensure they are comparable, using harmonised methodology. Eurostat is actually the only provider of statistics at European level and the data we issue are harmonised as far as possible.

One example: for an accurate picture of EU unemployment it is important that unemployed people in Finland or Portugal are counted or measured in the same way as in Ireland or Germany. So Eurostat works with EU countires to define common methodology on unemployment or asks EU countries to include appropriate questions when gathering national data. These EU data are then sent to Eurostat so we can publish EU-wide unemployment data, which can then be used to compare unemployment rates between countries.