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Eurostat is a Directorate-General of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide the European Union with statistical information at European level and to promote the harmonisation of statistical methods across the Member States of the European Union, candidate countries and EFTA countries. The organisations in the different countries which actively cooperate with Eurostat are summarized under the concept of the European Statistical System.
As a Directorate-General of the Commission, Eurostat is allocated to the portfolio of the Commissioner for Economic & Financial Affairs, Joaquín Almunia.
The current Director-General of Eurostat is since 2008, former President of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. Current Deputy Director-General is since 2004, former President of the Czech Statistical Office.
1953 The Statistics Division for the European Coal and Steel Community established.
1958 The European Community founded and the forerunner of Eurostat established.
1959 The present name of Eurostat as the Statistical Office of the European Communities adopted. First publication issued - on agricultural statistics.
1960 First Community Labour Force Survey.
1970 The European System of Integrated Economic Accounts (European System of Accounts, ESA) published and the general Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE) established.
1974 First domain in the statistical database Cronos databank installed.
1988 European Commission adopts a document defining the first policy for statistical information.
1989 The Statistical Programme Committee established and the first programme (1989-1992) adopted by the Council as an instrument for implementing statistical information policy
1990 The Council adopts a directive on transmission of confidential data to Eurostat, previously an obstacle to Community statistical work.
1991 Eurostat’s role extended as a result of the agreement on establishment of the European Economic Area and adoption of the Maastricht Treaty.
1993 The single market extends Eurostat’s activities e.g. Intrastat established for statistics on intra-EU trade. Eurostat starts issuing regular news releases.
1994 First European household panel held, analysing income, employment, poverty, social exclusion, households, health etc.
1997 Statistics added for the first time to the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Statistical Law approved by the Council. Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices HICP published for the first time - designed for Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (EMU) convergence criteria.
1998 The 11 countries in at the start of EMU (EUR-11) announced and Eurostat issues the first indicators specific to the EMU area.
1999 Start of EMU, 1 January 2001
2002 Start of the euro on 1 January, Eurostat supplies key statistics for monetary policy
2003 Irregularities were suspected in Eurostat, see Eurostat scandal
2004 Start of free of charge dissemination of all statistical data except microdata for research purposes.
2005 Commission Recommendation on the independence, integrity and accountability of the national and Community statistical authorities (European Statistics Code of Practice)
2005 Start of a three year peer review exercise across the European Statistical System to check the compliance with the Code of Practice
2007 The currently valid 5 years Statistical Programme 2008-2012 was adopted
2009 New European Regulation governing the statistical cooperation in the European Union was adopted
Main areas of statistical activities
The Eurostat statistical work is structured into Themes and Sub-themes.
General statistical activities related to the European Statistical system are:
* Coordination and governance of the European Statistical System
* Statistical methodological coordination and research
* Statistical quality and reporting
Access to Eurostat statistics
The most important statistics are made available via press releases. They are placed on the Eurostat Internet at 11:00 in the morning. This is also the time that the press release content may be distributed to the public by press agencies.
Eurostat disseminates its statistics free of charge via its Internet and its statistical databases that are accessible via the Internet. The statistics are hierarchically ordered in a navigation tree. Tables are distinguished from multidimensional datasets from which the statistics are extracted via an interactive tool.
In addition various printed publications are available either in electronic form free on the Internet or in printed form via the EU Bookshop. Only larger publications are charged for as printed copies.
Statistical data for research purposes
Microdata which in principle allows the identification of the statistical unit (e.g. a person in the labour force survey or a company for innovation statistics) is treated strictly confidential. Under tight security procedures various anonymised datasets are provided to research institutions for validated research projects.