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Brussels, 21 December 2011
Q&A: European Statistical programme 2013-2017
What is the European Statistical Programme (ESP)?
The ESP is the new financing programme covering Eurostat activities, as foreseen within the Multi-Annual Financial Framework proposal adopted by the Commission in June (see IP/11/799). This programme is the successor of the current Community Statistical Programme 2008-2012. The new ESP is fixed for a period of five years from 2013 until 2018. Under the programme, high quality statistics will be produced to support the design, implementation and evaluation of EU policies, in particular those related to enhancing economic governance in Europe.
What is the European Statistical System (ESS)?
It is a joint partnership between Eurostat and national statistical authorities in Member States to develop, produce and disseminate European statistics.
What is the budget for the programme, and how will it be allocated?
The budget for the 5 year period is EUR 299.4 million. This will be allocated through annual work programmes drawn up by the Commission each year, on the basis of the priorities identified. A large part of this budget will be allocated to the Member States in order to complement national funding and support the implementation of the Programme at national level.
Why does the MFF proposal for statistics start and end earlier than other MFF proposals (2014-2020)?
The European Statistical Programme starts already in 2013 because it will follow up the current programme which will finish in 2012. Under the current rules, the European statistical programme can not exceed a period of five years and will therefore end in 2018.
How will it help Member States to cut costs?
The ESP includes several statistical projects across the ESS aiming at more efficient data collection and validation, extensive use of existing administrative data , development of common tools, and more efficient data dissemination. The heaviest regular statistical activity Intrastat is such an example where Eurostat aims at reducing the reporting burden by 50% by the end of 2015 while increasing quality of European data.
What are the challenges for European statistics in the years ahead?
In the years ahead, Eurostat will have to be able to keep up with the constantly growing need for more European statistics. At the same time, the nature of statistics has changed in that evidence-based decisions will be increasingly taken on the basis of complex multidimensional statistics (i.e. covering different policy areas at once). In addition, budget constraints at both national and European level will make it even more challenging to deliver high-quality statistics in nearly real time. In this context the new European Statistical Programme has been designed and equipped with the necessary tools to overcome these challenges in the coming years.
What are the main objectives of the new programme?
The principle objective is to produce and disseminate high-quality, harmonised European statistics on the basis of which EU policies can be tailored more accurately. The specific objectives include:
Which new Eurostat indicators will be covered in the programme?
New indicators that will be produced under the programme are linked to EU2020, enhanced economic governance, globalisation, environmental sustainability and quality of life.
How will the new programme help to protect the independence of statistics?
Under the new programme, the national and European statistical authorities commit to respect the principles set out in the European Statistics Code of Practice. This Code reinforces the principles of independence, integrity and accountability of national and EU statistical authorities. Based on the Commitments on confidence in statistics agreed with Member States, new monitoring mechanisms will be introduced to assess compliance with the Code of Practice. This will help to improve the quality of how the European Statistical System is managed.
Eurostat was previously covered by 2 programmes (Community Statistical Programme and Programme for the Modernisation of European Enterprise and Trade Statistics). Why are they now being merged into one programme?
Merging the two programmes, which have been separate up to now, reflects the simplification policy of the Commission. It will improve the efficiency of the management of the programmes.
What is new compared to the previous programmes?
An antifraud strategy will be adopted in line with the Commission's new antifraud strategy (CAFS) adopted on 24 June 2011 (see IP/11/783). The aim is to ensure that internal anti-fraud related controls are fully aligned with the CAFS and that the fraud management risk approach is geared to identify fraud risk areas and adequate responses. Where necessary, networking groups and adequate IT tools dedicated to analysing fraud cases related to the European Statistical Programme will be set up. Specific awareness raising measures and relevant training will be provided where necessary to reduce the likelihood of fraud.
Is this proposal in line with the principle of subsidiarity?
Union statistics and the right for the Commission to propose actions have their basis in Article 338 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The shared competence between Union and national levels is justified by the transnational character of many aspects of statistics in general and of European statistics in particular. While Member States will ensure the actual collection of the statistical information at national level, only a coordinated approach to the development, production and dissemination of European statistics as a whole will guarantee the required coherence and comparability of the statistics relevant for the activities of the EU.
The scale of the actions included in the programme justifies EU involvement since the objective of the proposed action, namely, the development, production and dissemination of European statistics under the ESP 2013-2017, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and is therefore better achieved at EU level.
How does the European Statistical Programme fit in with the wider objectives of the EU?
The economic and social policy debate in the EU in recent years has been driven by the very intense debate about how to enhance the economic governance of the EU. The implementation of EU policies requires comparable and reliable statistical information about the economic, social and environmental situation in the EU. It is therefore of strategic importance for the Commission to produce high quality European statistics in order to provide a comprehensive response to the financial and economic crisis. Statistics play a key role in supporting decision-making and policy evaluation of economic and social policies such as the Europe 2020 and Economic Governance strategy.
See also IP/11/1587