In December 2021, a European peer review took place of a number of statistical institutes in Belgium that play a role in the production of European statistics. The results of the audit show that, overall, European statistics in our country are in line with the international quality standards and principles. The audit committee's report also contains a number of recommendations that will be converted into improvement actions in the coming weeks.
Statbel, the Flemish Statistical Authority, the National Accounts Institute, the FPS Home Affairs and the Directorate General Energy of the FPS Economy were examined. European statistics are produced according to international quality standards and principles. A group of independent experts, the peer review committee, examined these principles.
In total, thirteen recommendations were formulated by the committee on three central themes:
- Strengthen the coordinating role of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, in the production of European statistics in Belgium.
The Belgian statistical system consists of different actors, and European statistics are produced at both federal and regional or community level. The peer review committee therefore recommends a more coordinated approach to production, based on a central quality policy and closer cooperation between all statistics producers. Statbel should play a central role in this, according to the experts of the peer review committee.
- The ability to respond to new data challenges
Exploring new data sources and producing new statistics that provide quicker and more detailed answers to economic, social or societal issues and future challenges requires adequate human and financial resources. The growing statistical needs and policy priorities should be commensurate with the resources allocated to the different statistical institutes, whether in terms of staff, financial resources or IT infrastructure.
- Interaction with users of European statistics
Access to European statistics should be clear and simple. That is why the audit committee recommends the creation of a central web portal, which provides direct access to the various European statistics. Statistical results should also be published at a fixed time, in an attractive and accessible form, to meet the needs of different types of users.
In the coming weeks, all these recommendations will be converted into concrete improvement actions by Statbel, the Flemish Statistical Authority, the National Accounts Institute, the FPS Home Affairs and the Directorate General Energy of the FPS Economy. Among others, all producers of European statistics, the Higher Council of Statistics and the Interfederal Statistical Institute will be informed about the improvement actions. Over the next five years, the implementation of the actions will be reported centrally at European level and monitored by Eurostat.