Eurostat`s mission: to be the leading provider of high quality statistics on Europe. Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. Its task is to provide the European Union with statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions. This is a key task. Democratic societies do not function properly without a solid basis of reliable and objective statistics. On one hand, decision-makers at EU level, in Member States, in local government and in business need statistics to make those decisions. On the other hand, the public and media need statistics for an accurate picture of contemporary society and to evaluate the performance of politicians and others. Of course, national statistics are still important for national purposes in Member States whereas EU statistics are essential for decisions and evaluation at European level.
Statistics can answer many questions. Is society heading in the direction promised by politicians? Is unemployment up or down? Are there more CO2 emissions compared to ten years ago? How many women go to work? How is your country’s economy performing compared to other EU Member States?
International statistics are a way of getting to know your neighbours in Member States and countries outside the EU. They are an important, objective and down-to-earth way of measuring how we all live.
Changing role of Eurostat
Eurostat was established in 1953 to meet the requirements of the Coal and Steel Community. Over the years its task has broadened and when the European Community was founded in 1958 it became a Directorate-General (DG) of the European Commission. Eurostat’s key role is to supply statistics to other DGs and supply the Commission and other European Institutions with data so they can define, implement and analyse Community policies.
The result: Eurostat offers a whole range of important and interesting data that governments, businesses, the education sector, journalists and the public can use for their work and daily life.
With the development of Community policies, Eurostat’s role has changed. Today, collecting data for EMU and developing statistical systems in candidate countries for EU membership are more important than ten years ago.
Eurostat’s main role is to process and publish comparable statistical information at European level. We try to arrive at a common statistical ‘language’ that embraces concepts, methods, structures and technical standards.
Eurostat does not collect data. This is done in Member States by their statistical authorities. They verify and analyse national data and send them to Eurostat. Eurostat’s role is to consolidate the data and ensure they are comparable, using harmonized methodology. Eurostat is actually the only provider of statistics at European level and the data we issue are harmonized as far as possible.
One example: for an accurate picture of EU unemployment it is important that unemployed people in Finland or Portugal are counted or measured in the same way as in Ireland or Germany. So Eurostat works with Member States to define common methodology on unemployment or asks Member States to include appropriate questions when gathering national data. These EU data are then sent to Eurostat so we can publish EU-wide unemployment data, which can then be used to compare unemployment rates between countries.
With the birth of the euro there is a need to measure the development of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The euro is the single currency for EMU and is compared with other currencies such as the dollar and yen. This has fuelled the harmonization of methodology between Member States. Just as there is one inflation rate and one GDP rate for the USA, Eurostat now publishes economic indicators for the whole euro-zone.
The bottom line is we try to provide you with data that are comparable because apples have to be compared with apples - not with pears…
As one of the Directorates-General of the European Commission, Eurostat is headed by a Director General and a Deputy Director General. As from 1 January 2014, the seven Directorates responsible for different sectors of Eurostat activities are organised as below:
- Cooperation in the European Statistical System; international cooperation; resources
- Methodology; corporate statistical and IT services
- National accounts, prices and key Indicators
- Government finance statistics (GFS) and quality
- Sectoral and regional statistics
- Social statistics
- Global business statistics