The notion of statistical cooperation with partners beyond the European Statistical System (ESS) refers to endeavours of EFTA ("EFTA at four") and the European Commission, often in cooperation with other international organisations (e.g. UNECE, UNSD, IMF etc.) to build up statistical capacities in selected partner countries. The legal basis of ESO's statistical cooperation activities is an Administrative Arrangement (AA) which is a declaration of intent to be agreed upon by EFTA and Eurostat for a renewable period of three years.
More generally, the European Commission has formulated political strategies that aim at supporting the development of the economies of countries surrounding the EU. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) targets both the eastern regions (ENP-East) and the southern Mediterranean regions (ENP-South). The respective countries are:
|Moldova||Occupied Palestinian Territories|
In addition, the European Commission extended its cooperation programme for ENP-East in certain respects to include the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Together with the countries of ENP-East, these are referred to as the Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian (EECCA) Countries.
ESO, in close cooperation with the four EFTA NSIs, Eurostat and the UNECE, contributes to these statistical capacity building activities financially and by providing expertise in many fields. The main activities are:
- Global Assessments (GA): these are stock-taking exercises usually consisting of two one week missions that are conducted by expert groups in the statistical offices of partner countries. The objective is to compare the existing national provisions (legal, organisational, statistical production, etc.) against those requested by the European Code of Practice (ECoP) and the United Nations’ Fundamental Principles of Statistics (FPoS). The results are subject to a report that serves on the one hand for the National Statistical Institutes as a reference for the evaluation of their actual state compared to international standards, while, on the other hand, it allows international organisations to plan and better tailor their supporting activities towards countries and/or regions
- Peer Reviews (PR): have a similar intention as GAs but omit a detailed review of different statistical production areas in favour of highlighting legal and organisational aspects of National Statistical Institutes
- Statistical Training Programmes: are concrete trainings in various fields of statistical production on methods and methodologies for staff of National Statistical Offices.
- Conferences and Seminars: aim at gathering different groups (High Level Management of National Statistical Institutes as well as statistical desk officers in different domains) in order to discuss and exchange experiences on strategic issues and concrete implementation of methods.