Brussels, 18 April 2011
A new step reinforcing the quality of European statistics
The Commission adopted on Friday 15 April a Communication to reinforce the quality of European statistics by moving from correction to prevention. The Communication 'Towards robust quality management for European Statistics' proposes among other things to reinforce the governance of the European Statistical System, to further standardise public accounts, to review regularly the quality of data supplied by government bodies to National Statistical Institutes and to assess the risk of revisions at an earlier stage. This is the latest step to improve the quality of European statistics, an objective which is of crucial importance in strengthening economic governance for the euro area and the EU as a whole.
"I will spare no effort to ensure the highest quality of statistical indicators, and to achieve this we have to move from correction to prevention, which is exactly the same approach we use to reinforce economic governance. At the same time, we have to strengthen the independence of the European Statistical System" said Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs.
The Communication includes a range of initiatives to complete the robust framework needed to ensure the quality of European statistics, for economic governance as a whole and in particular for the excessive deficit procedure. It builds on the existing foundations for the high quality production of European statistics. All statistical domains will benefit from this enhanced quality management, which is a key factor in the success of major policy initiatives such as the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs and the coordination of economic policies in the European Union.
Considerable progress has already been made in building the necessary framework to ensure the quality and reliability of European statistics. In recent years, governance of the European Statistical System has been improved, in particular with the adoption of the European Statistics Code of Practice. The European Statistical Governance Advisory Board was set up in 2009 to provide an independent overview of the implementation of the Code of Practice,. The system was further boosted by the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics, and by the enhanced powers given in 2010 to Eurostat to better control government finance statistics used in the Excessive Deficit Procedure.
The Communication aims to further improve the way in which European statistics are governed through a revision of the framework Regulation on European Statistics and the update of the European Statistics Code of Practice. A new process for the implementation of this Code by National Statistical Institutes and other statistical authorities will be established. Member States will be invited to sign up to 'Commitments on Confidence in Statistics' in which they will formally commit themselves to taking all necessary measures to maintain confidence in their statistics and to monitoring the implementation of the Code.
Regarding more specifically the quality of government finance statistics, it is proposed to progressively move from a corrective approach to a more preventive approach. Preventive measures, such as promoting further standardisation in public accounts and a wider use of risk assessment, will help to better identify, assess and monitor significant risks at an early stage. It will include the possibility to assess on a regular basis the quality of data supplied by public bodies to National Statistical Institutes for use in compiling government finance statistics, in cooperation with National Audit Institutions in Member States.
The Communication is available at the following address: