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Brussels, 17 April 2012
Commissioner Šemeta presents the "revised Regulation on European Statistics"
I am pleased to be able to personally present to you a proposal adopted by the Commission today to revise the Regulation on European Statistics.
This will reinforce the credibility, quality and independence of Statistics throughout the EU.
The economic crisis has thrown the European statistical system into the spotlight.
It has highlighted how much we depend on sound data to make sound decisions.
And it has underlined the importance of reliable statistics for evidence-based policy making.
Statistics not only pin-point where the weaknesses lie in our economic (and social) systems, but they provide the basis for finding the right solutions to address them.
Moreover, they allow us to measure the success of our decisions; to monitor our progress and to ensure we are on the right path back to sustainable growth.
The high quality of statistics becomes even more relevant when we consider the decisions taken over the past year to reinforce economic governance in the EU.
Whether in the Commission's recommendations in the European Semester, or the employment of enforcement mechanisms in the case of non-compliance with agreed targets, statistics will be the bed-rock.
The economic crisis has also shown us the importance of credible statistics for trust in decisions taken at national and EU level – particularly when these decisions are difficult or painful.
It is not enough for our statistical systems to be independent and the statistics they produce of high quality: they must also be seen to be so.
This is key for public support and understanding
It is crucial for ensuring measured market reactions
And it is essential for trust between Member States, and for confidence in the European way ahead.
Let there be no misunderstanding: European statistics are of good quality. All the more so thanks to work done in recent years, for example in granting enhanced powers to Eurostat and reinforcing the European Statistics Code of Practice.
Today's proposal is another brick in the wall in ensuring a strong and dependable European Statistical System.
What does it foresee?
Firstly, it will enshrine in law the independence of the National Statistical Institutes and in particular the Heads of these authorities. They will be fully autonomous, and protected from any political interference.
Secondly, it will require Member States to sign, at the highest political level, Commitments on Confidence in Statistics.
These commitments will mean that governments take explicit responsibility for the independence and reliability of their national statistics.
Finally, it will improve the coordination and efficiency of the European Statistical System and ensure that national statistical institutes have access to the data that they need to compile quality statistics.
In short, it will be a further step in ensuring that European statistics are of the highest possible standard.
To conclude, good statistical governance lies at the heart of good economic governance. Robust, reliable data will underpin successful structural reforms.
Today's initiative to revise the Regulation on European Statistics is therefore an important one, and I have every confidence that Member States and the European Parliament will give it their full support.