Statistics play a fundamental role in planning, developing and monitoring the economic, social and environmental aspects of the European Single Market. In order to facilitate the integration of the EFTA National Statistical Institutes into the European Statistical System (ESS), the EFTA Statistical Office (ESO) was established in 1991 as a liaison office between the EFTA National Statistical Institutes and Eurostat. Although ESO's tasks have somewhat expanded since then and today include activities in the field of statistical cooperation with partners beyond the EU and EFTA ("statistical capacity building"), its main objective was and still is to promote the full inclusion of the EFTA States in the continuously evolving European Statistical System.
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