Brussels, 17 September 2012
Reinforcing Eurostat, Reinforcing high quality statistics
The role and responsibilities of Eurostat, the EU statistical office, have been clarified and reinforced in a Decision adopted by the Commission today. This is another important step forward in ensuring high quality, reliable and independent European statistics. Today's Decision reflects the need to strengthen the governance of European statistics, taking into account significant developments in recent years, not least the central role that Eurostat now plays in European economic governance. Through the Decision, the Commission pledges to uphold the independence of Eurostat and it's Director-General in their tasks, and ensure high-quality standards are respected for European statistics.
Algirdas Semeta, Commissioner responsible for Statistics, said: "Today the Commission is leading by example. We are formally enshrining in Eurostat the principles and standards that we expect in national statistical authorities. Immense work has been done in recent years to ensure that European statistics are credible, impartial, usable and accessible to all. This work is paying off, and the EU has advanced towards a world-class statistical system that underpins sound policy-making and better economic governance."
The credibility of statistics relies on their impartiality, objectivity and freedom from political interference or influence. The independence of statistical offices is therefore of paramount importance. In line with what has been advocated for national statistical authorities, Eurostat's professional independence is firmly set down in today's Decision. In particular, the independence of the head of Eurostat, who is the Chief Statistician, is underlined. Transparent recruitment and dismissal procedures are required for the Chief Statistician, based on professional criteria only, and he/she must act in an entirely autonomous manner in carrying out his/her tasks. These tasks include deciding on how, when and what European statistics are produced, and ensuring that these statistics are developed and disseminated in line with the Code of Practice. Eurostat is in charge of coordinating statistical activities within the Commission, to ensure coherence and comparability of European statistics. This coordination, along with closer cooperation between Eurostat and other Commission services on statistical matters, will ensure a better reaction to future challenges. It will also allow more efficient use of the Union's resources and help to reduce the response burden.
Guaranteeing the quality of European statistics is also given much prominence in today's Decision. Eurostat is responsible for monitoring and assessing the quality of data that it collects and receives, and for verifying data in the context of the EU's enhanced economic governance. It also monitors the implementation of the European Statistics Code of Practice at national level. To secure public trust, a process of labelling European statistics, so as to distinguish them from other statistics, is promoted. The Decision makes reference to Eurostat's new mandate to carry out investigations, particularly where manipulation is suspected, by applying all the powers that it has been granted.
Today's Decision on Eurostat serves as a renewed Commitment on Confidence in Statistics by the Commission for the European statistics developed, produced and disseminated by Eurostat. As such, it mirrors the requirements at national level set out in the recently proposed amendment to the Regulation on European statistics (see IP/12/375).
For the text of the Decision, see:
Emer Traynor (+32 2 292 15 48)
Natasja Bohez Rubiano (+32 2 296 64 70)