Europe Activities and structure

The European Statistical System (ESS) is a partnership between Eurostat, the national statistical institutes and other national government agencies responsible for producing European statistics.

The European Statistical System ensures that the European statistics produced in all EU Member States are reliable, based on uniform criteria and definitions, and comparable between the different EU countries.

Currently the ESS as such is governed by the European Statistical Law adopted in 2009 by Regulation (EC) 223/2009 (the last revision was in 2015 to a larger extent to better reflect the importance of the ESS) of the European Parliament and of the Council.

European Union statistics are prepared, produced and disseminated both in the European Statistical System (ESS) and in the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).

The core element of the ESS is the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC). Committee members are Eurostat and the heads of the national statistical institutes of the EU and EFTA countries. The Committee provides professional guidance for planning, producing and disseminating European statistics and is involved in the process of developing and adopting standards for the further development of European statistical legislation.

The ESS activities are based on a European Statistical Programme which comprises the statistical planning for a five-year period. The Programme is adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. To ensure that user needs are taken into account when compiling the European Statistical Programme, the European Statistical Advisory Committee has been set up. It represents users, respondents, scientific and social institutions and the EU administration.

Although activities are planned jointly by the national statistical institutes and Eurostat, the production of harmonised national statistics is the responsibility of the Member States, while Eurostat collects the data provided by the Member States, analyses them and, based on them, provides comparable and harmonised figures. The harmonised comparative figures are indispensable for defining, implementing and evaluating common EU policy goals.

Furthermore, Eurostat undertakes to ensure the coordination required for the functioning of this complex system (different languages, very different forms of administrative organisation, specific classifications and so on) and to ensure the coherence and quality of the data.

Members of the ESS: European national statistical offices