The Modernisation of European Social Statistics
Inna Steinbuka
Directorate of Social and Information Society Statistics, European Commission

The production of European statistics has a long history: it started with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the early 1950s. As a result of growing demand and increasingly limited resources in National Statistical Institutes, the European Commission proposed a far reaching reform to the collection and dissemination of statistics across all sectors, including social statistics, last year. The goal of the reform is to modernise the collection and dissemination of statistics, and to improve efficiency according to a number of key dimensions: data collection, data storing, matching, better use of administrative data sources, more efficient onward transmission to the European level, and improved timeliness of published data.

European Social Statistics are therefore at an important junction in their development for two reasons. Firstly, the process of modernisation described above, for which concrete tasks, from the short to the long term, in relation to the social sector, are starting to be defined. Secondly, European Member States have expressed their support for the findings of the Stiglitz Commission, and the need to improve Quality of Life measurement, through the agreement of the Sofia Memorandum in October 2010 that advocates a greater use of European level surveys, such as EU-SILC. The importance of social statistics in the context of EU-2020 Strategy and enhanced economic governance is increasingly clear, as are the special Quality of Life requirements for the thematic coordination (poverty).

The European Social Statistics System must therefore adapt itself not only to increase efficiency, but also to achieve a better trade off between timeliness and relevance without compromising quality, and its fit for purpose. Inna Šteinbuka will outline these challenges facing the European Social Statistics, and set out the steps being taken by Eurostat in response.

Keywords: Social statistics; Modernisation; Quality; Efficiency

Biography: Inna Šteinbuka is Director of Social and Information Society Statistics in Eurostat, European Commission. Prior to this she was Chair of the Public Utilities Commission in charge of regulation of electricity, gas and telecommunication markets as well as railway and postal services in Latvia from 2001-2005. From 1999 – 2001, she was Senior Advisor to Executive Director in the International Monetary Fund in Washington. From 1991 to 1999, she was Director of Economic Analyses and Fiscal Policy Department in the Latvian Ministry of Finance, and Advisor to Minister of Finance. Mrs. Steinbuka is professor of economics at the Latvian University.