Statistics pose new legal, technical and ethical challenges in the EU

Statistics are commonly regarded as a very technical field, which has little do to with policy-making. In modern times, however, good policy-making heavily relies on good statistics. This is particularly true in Europe, where most fiscal rules are based on numerical targets. From this perspective, the European Statistical Governance Advisory Board (ESGAB) works to define a code of conduct for statistical reporting, to strengthen the professional independence of statistical authorities and to identify issues that have broad implications for statistics and beyond. On December 10th, CEPS hosted the launch of the 7th Annual Report of the ESGAB at a membership meeting, featuring the Chairman of the ESGAB Board Martti Hatemaki and Ruth Paserman (European Commission), among other high-level experts. The discussions focused on the need to ensure the quality of European statistics through compliance with high professional standards across all EU member states. This year’s report emphasised the new challenges for statistical authorities raised by the fast-changing skills requirement, mostly driven by the massive quantity of available data, to produce high-quality statistics while respecting privacy and confidentiality and taking into account complex legal matters.