Definition: Statistical Office of the European Communities
Eurostat is the Statistical Office of the European Communities 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 (Source: Eurostat Web site).
Tasks of Eurostat
Within the Commission, Eurostat is in charge of the implementation of the Community statistical programme, and in particular of:
(a) developing a set of norms and methods which allow impartial, reliable, relevant and cost-effective statistics to be produced throughout the Community;
(b) making Community statistics accessible to the Community bodies, governments of the Member States, social and economic operators, academic circles and the public in general, in view of the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Community policies.
To this end Eurostat shall:
(a) conduct research on, and further develop, statistical methodology and technologies;
(b) prepare, further develop and promote the adoption of Community statistical standards by Member States in order to improve the comparability of Community statistics, as well as the cost-effectiveness of their production;
(c) advise and support Member States on statistical matters;
(d) compile statistical information on the basis of adequate data, undertake analysis and provide technical explanation to avoid erroneous interpretation or analysis;
(e) collect statistics from national statistical authorities and from secretariats of international organizations the data required for Community statistical purposes;
(f) reinforce the process of cooperation with and between national statistical authorities through mutual exchanges of experts, participation in statistical activities and the development of training systems;
(g) cooperate with international organizations and third countries in order to facilitate the comparability of Community statistics with statistics produced in other statistical systems, and, where appropriate, support third countries in the improvement of their statistical systems;
(h) upgrade the professional statistical knowledge and skills of Commission staff working in the field of Community statistics (Source: Commission Decision 97/281/EC, of 21 April 1997, on the role of Eurostat as regards the production of Community statistics; Official Journal of the European Union No. L 112 , 29/04/1997).