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International Data - European Statistical System



European Statistical System


Since the early days of the Community it was realised that decisions on and planning and implementation of Community policies must be based on reliable and comparable statistics. So the European Statistical System (ESS) was built up gradually with the objective of providing comparable statistics at EU level.

The ESS is the partnership between the Community statistical authority, which is the Commission (Eurostat), and the national statistical institutes (NSIs) and other national authorities responsible in each Member State for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics. This Partnership also includes the EEA and EFTA countries.

Member States collect data and compile statistics for national and EU purposes. The ESS functions as a network in which Eurostat’s role is to lead the way in the harmonization of statistics in close cooperation with the national statistical authorities. ESS work concentrates mainly on EU policy areas - but, with the extension of EU policies, harmonization has been extended to nearly all statistical fields.

The ESS also coordinates its work with candidate countries, and at European level with other Commission services, agencies and the ECB and international organisations such as OECD, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.




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.

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.

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 issued are harmonized as far as possible.

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


Mariana Kotzeva has been Director-General of Eurostat since 1 March 2018.


Eurostat at a glance