EU Forum

EU Integration

The governance of the European Statistical System

22 Dec 2016 - 12:23
Source: CMS IT services

The functioning of the European Statistical System (ESS) has been a topic for debate for quite some time. This report examines the governance structure of the ESS.

The reliability of European statistics is essential to underpinning trust in the euro and in the EU in general. Hence, it is important to analyse how the ESS is governed, whether the governance system ensures trust based on reliability, and if it lives up to essential European principles such as proportionality (cost effectiveness), subsidiarity, implementation and enforcement. This report examines the governance structure of the ESS by focusing on the following central questions: to what extent is the ESS future proof, and in what directions can improvements be envisioned?

Central to any governance discussion are key questions related to, firstly, the relation between member states and EU institutions: to what extent should the EU build on national capacities? Should a strengthening of predominantly European capacities (centralisation) be considered? Should EU cooperation be based on division of labour specialisation? Or should the EU be a network organisation? This means, in relation to quality: how is quality ensured in these different models? Secondly, whatever division between member states and EU institutions is chosen, it has to be considered how tasks related to ESS are organised within the European Commission. Similar questions also play a role in other policy areas and therefore have broader relevance in discussions on centralisation or decentralised network management in the EU.