Today the Commission proposed new, integrated ways to collect and use data from social surveys so as to better support policy making in general and social policy in particular. The Commission also took a stance on the quality of official statistics in Greece.
A more solid evidence base will help Europe achieve highest possible social standards, a "social triple A" as President Juncker put it.
That is why the European Commission today adopted a proposal for a Regulation on new, integrated ways to collect and use data from social surveys so as to better support policy making in general and social policy in particular.
The proposed framework Regulation will bring together seven existing household surveys that are currently carried out in the EU i. It will harmonise variables that are common to two or more surveys, as well as technical aspects of the surveys such as statistical classifications or quality reporting. This will increase coherence across surveys and will in turn facilitate joint analysis of social phenomena, based on new survey methods.
Marianne Thyssen i, Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, as well as for European statistics (EUROSTAT i), stressed that this proposal is yet another proof that the Juncker Commission i puts the social dimension at the heart of its agenda.
Explaining the proposal to the press, Commissioner Thyssen also referred to the quality of official statistics in Greece. Sound and reliable fiscal data are essential for sound economic decision making. Recent statements in the media, however, call into question the quality and reliability of official statistics in Greece. Although the Commission will not, as a matter of principle, comment on individual national legal proceedings, it is concerned about these statements as they also call into question the validity of the fiscal data underpinning the Stability Support Programme for Greece. Commissioner Thyssen said: "The independence of the Hellenic Statistical Authority ELSTAT and the quality of its statistics are essential. For the Commission and Eurostat it is absolutely clear that data on Greek Government debt during 2010-2015 have been fully reliable and accurately reported to Eurostat." The Commission now calls upon the Greek authorities to actively and publicly challenge the false impression that data were manipulated during 2010-2015 and to protect ELSTAT and its staff from such unfounded claims. It also urges the Greek authorities to support and preserve the quality of Greek statistics, as well as the independence of the Hellenic Statistical System, along the lines defined in Greek statistical legislation and in the Commitment on Confidence in Statistics of 2012. A letter signed by Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen was sent in this regard to Greek Minister of Finance, Euclid Tsakalotos.