The primary objective of the ESS is to ensure the comparability, reliability, relevance, and utility of European statistics produced in all EU Member States. This is achieved through the application of common criteria, definitions, and appropriate data processing methods.
The regulatory framework for the ESS is primarily defined by the European Statistical Law, established in 2009 through Regulation (EC) 223/2009 by the European Parliament and the Council.
European Union statistics are prepared and disseminated by two main entities: the European Statistical System and the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).
The core entity within the ESS is the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC), composed of the heads of Eurostat and national statistical institutes, from EU and EFTA countries. This committee provides professional guidance for the planning, compilation, and distribution of European statistics. The ESSC convenes to deliberate and make determinations on pivotal matters related to European statistics development and production. These matters encompass priorities in the annual European Statistical Programme, considerations about response burden and cost-effectiveness, matters of statistical confidentiality, and guidelines for statistics production, among others.
The ESS operates based on a five-year European Statistical Programme, which is approved by the European Parliament and the Council. To ensure that user requirements are considered in compiling the program, the European Statistical Advisory Committee was established. This committee represents various stakeholders, including users, information providers, academic and social institutions, and the community administration.
Data collection and statistical compilation serve both national and EU objectives across the European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. The ESS operates as a network, wherein Eurostat takes the lead in fostering statistical harmonisation, working in close collaboration with national statistical authorities. The primary focus of ESS efforts revolves around key priorities within the EU. However, as EU policies continue to expand, the scope of harmonisation has broadened to encompass virtually all statistical domains.
Peer reviews are an integral component of the European Statistical System strategy, designed to oversee the implementation of the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). These reviews aim to assess the extent to which the ESS adheres to the CoP and contribute to the enhancement and advancement of national statistical systems under the guidance of statistical authorities.