European Commission adopts Scicluna proposals on statistical governance

Labour MEP Prof Edward Scicluna today welcomed the European Commission’s decision to adopt a series of recommendations he had made in his report “Towards robust quality management for European Statistics,” which was approved by the European Parliament in March.

Prof Scicluna, who leads the Parliament’s Economic committee on European statistics, earlier this week presented a separate report on the five-year European Statistical Framework in Strasbourg.

“Following the debt crisis we are now all acutely aware that accurate and reliable statistics provide the building blocks for policy making. The crisis in Greece started when officials discovered that statistical fraud had taken place. I am pleased to see that many of my report’s recommendations are included in the draft legislation (on statistical governance) which, when amended and adopted by the Parliament, will ensure that such a systemic failure never happens again.”

Among its key reforms, the Commission proposal aims at making National Statistical Institutes (NSI) and their staff completely independent from government and political pressure, with a tough system of audits at national and European level. The NSIs will be required to present an annual report on its statistical work and financial situation.

The Commission also wants all 27 member states to sign “Commitments of Confidence” making it a legal requirement for countries to respect the European Statistics Code of Practice. These measures were all included in Prof Scicluna’s report.

Launching the new rules Algirdas Semeta, the EU Commissioner responsible for statistics, said:

“Now, more than ever, we must be able to reassure citizens that policies put forward – particularly economic ones – are founded on quality, reliable data. Today’s proposals safeguard in law the independence of European statistics, and will ensure that they adhere to the highest standards.”

Prof Scicluna said that the framework for delivering reliable statistics was simple. All agencies at national and European level must be completely independent and they must be provided sufficient resources for them to fulfil their role, with a rigorous audit framework that maintains a strong level of accountability.




–  Thursday, 19th April, 2012

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