Council conclusions on EU statistics - EU monitor

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Source: Council of the European Union (Council) i, published on Friday, November 15 2013.

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Council conclusions on EU statistics

ECONOMIC and FINANCIAL AFFAIRS Council meeting Brussels, 15 November 2013

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"Following the priorities set in the ECOFIN Council Conclusions of 10 November 2009, 10 November 2010, 20 June 2011, 30 November 2011 and 13 November 2012 on statistical governance, priority setting, robust quality management, the Status Report on Information Requirements in EMU and the EPC report on Requirements for structural statistics 2013 and taking into consideration the statistical needs that must underpin the procedures of economic governance entered into force since 2010, the ECOFIN Council has reviewed the progress made in these areas and endorses the EFC opinion on EU Statistics

EU Statistical Governance

  • • 
    The Council RECALLS that the economic governance (European Semester; 6- and 2-Packs;

TSCG Treaty; EU2020) in place in the euro area and in the EU poses important challenges for the European Statistical System, and REITERATES that the good functioning of the new economic governance requires regular official statistics of high reliability and quality

  • • 
    The Council ACKNOWLEDGES the progress made since 2009 in modernising the European

Statistical System and INVITES the Commission and Member States to continue a modernisation strategy, in order to enhance, wherever and as appropriate, shared common standards of professional independence and good governance at all layers of the European Statistical System

  • • 
    The Council TAKES NOTE of the progress made in the discussions at the European

Parliament and the Council on the proposal for amending Regulation (EC) No on European statistics. The Council ACKNOWLEDGES that there is a particular need to secure the credibility of European statistics by strengthening the principle of professional independence of EU and national statistical institutes and their coordinating role within their respective statistical systems, while fully taking into account subsidiarity and national specificities

  • • 
    The Council TAKES NOTE of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the cooperation

between the members of the ESS and the members of the ESCB signed on 24 April 2013, strengthening close cooperation on European statistics at both strategic and operational levels

  • • 
    The Council WELCOMES the fifth report of the European Statistical Governance Advisory

Board (ESGAB), providing an independent overview of Eurostat and of the European Statistical System as a whole as regards the implementation of the Code of Practice. The Council TAKES NOTE of its recommendation to enhance further the co-ordination within the European Statistical System and of ESGAB’s call for a clear and strong coordination role for the National Statistical Institutes of other members of the European Statistical System while respecting subsidiarity and national specificities. The Council also TAKES NOTE of ESGAB's recommendation as regards the need to develop modernised and more integrated ways of producing European statistics

Quality assurance of key statistical output

  • • 
    The Council SUPPORTS the intention of the Commission to align the EDP notifications with

ESA 2010 as from September 2014

  • • 
    The Council WELCOMES the development of implementation plans within the European

Statistical System to meet the new data requirements resulting from the Six Pack, leading to an improved monitoring of public finances and contingent liabilities

  • • 
    The Council IS AWARE OF the plans to develop accrual based European Public Sector

Accounting Standards (EPSAS) applicable to all general government entities and COURAGES the Commission to continue work on this project, while respecting subsidiarity and national competences and the proportion between potential costs and benefits

The 2013 EFC Status Report on Information Requirements in EMU

The Council DORSES the 2013 EFC Status Report on Information Requirements in the EMU. In particular, the Council

  • • 
    WELCOMES the progress since 2012, and notes that the availability of PEEIs generally has

improved and the quality of several of the indicators has been positively influenced by improved coverage by countries, but that a harmonised indicator on house sales is not yet available

  • • 
    NOTES that Member States, Eurostat and the ECB contributed significantly to the work on

the G20 data gaps initiative and the SDDS Plus

  • • 
    CONSIDERS that the institutional framework for statistical work at G20 level should be

reinforced in order to ensure the timely implementation of the required data on a sustainable basis

TAKES THE VIEW that the provision of G20 aggregates, in addition to quarterly GDP and monthly CPI, fulfilling the data quality frameworks in place would be required

INVITES Eurostat and the ECB to provide an updated EFC Status Report on the fulfilment of the updated EMU statistical requirements in 2014

Scoreboard statistics for the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP), ESA 2010 and other structural statistics

  • • 
    The Council CONSIDERS that the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedures must rely upon

sound official statistics for inclusion in the scoreboard and TAKES NOTE of the adoption by the Commission of the proposal of a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the provision and quality of statistics for the macroeconomic imbalances procedure (COM(2013) 342 final). The Council WELCOMES the close cooperation of the ESS and the ESCB, using existing fora, in ensuring the reliability of the statistics underlying the MIP and their comparability

  • • 
    The Council WELCOMES the thorough process of the ESA revision. The Council IS

AWARE that the implementation of ESA 2010 in 2014 is essential for the availability of the required comparable macro-economic statistics for EU purposes and that its successful implementation represents a major investment for the Member States and the Commission. The Council EMPHASISES and supports the need for a timely implementation of ESA 2010 in a way that ensures the availability of high quality national accounts aggregates, STRESSES the importance of a well prepared communication with regard to the impact of the implementation of the new international statistical standards on the presentation of the economic developments and the public finances and WELCOMES the Commission's intention for a structured dialogue on the consequences of the implementation

The Council WELCOMES the progress made in meeting the needs on structural statistics and TAKES NOTE of the need for further work in this area, as outlined in the EPC Report

  • • 
    The Council WELCOMES the action plan for improving the timeliness of statistics on

inequality, poverty, income and social exclusion and RECALLS that a gradual implementation of the actions proposed is planned by Eurostat and the trade-off between the timeliness of data availability and robustness of the indicators should be kept in mind

Efficiency and priority setting: the modernisation of the European Statistical System (ESS)

  • • 
    The Council WELCOMES the progress achieved towards the modernisation of the European

Statistical System (ESS) and actions that would improve the efficiency of the production processes for European statistics and with due regard for national statistical needs. The Council UNDERLINES that the long-term strategic modernisation goals have to be shared by the ESS partners, and be performed by short-term achievements in specific statistical areas, as identified in close cooperation between ESS members

The Council STRESSES the importance of combining a modernisation strategy with a well-functioning priority-setting and simplification strategy, while at the same time ensuring the high quality of European and national statistics in all Member States. The Council RECOGNISES the increasing demands on statistical producers within the European Statistical System (ESS) and the need therefore to balance any new statistical demands with efficiency gains and effective priority-setting. Responding to that concern, greater focus needs to be placed to limit the overall burden of regulation at EU and national level. Therefore, the Council INVITES the ESS to work with policy makers to take work forward on the overall limitation of cost and burdens for new statistical requirements in existing domains of European statistics, while taking into account the priorities set

The Council ACKNOWLEDGES that a continuous monitoring and re-assessment of implementing actions against the modernisation objectives is the key element for a successful development of the ESS production systems and CALLS UPON Member States and the Commission to closely cooperate to this aim on the basis of a sound and commonly agreed distribution of roles and tasks avoiding redundancies and duplications under the full respect of the principle of subsidiarity and the principle of conferral

Therefore, the Council COURAGES the ESS to agree to continue a modernisation strategy and calls upon Member States and the Commission to secure resources, while recognising that the resources available in Member States and the Commission to achieve this are limited. The Council STRESSES that success will depend on stabilising the overall level of demands on statistical producers in Member States."