United Statisticians of Europe

 Head of Elstat (Statistics Greece) faces an official criminal investigation

Kerin Hope (Athens) from  Financial Times reports (27.11.2011):  
‘The head of Elstat, Greece’s new independent statistics agency, faces an official criminal investigation for allegedly inflating the scale of the country’s fiscal crisis and acting against the Greek national interest.
Andreas Georgiou, who worked at the International Monetary Fund for 20 years, was appointed in 2010 by agreement with the fund and the European Commission to clean up Greek statistics after years of official fudging by the finance ministry.
“I am being prosecuted for not cooking the books,” Mr Georgiou told the Financial Times. “We would like to be a good, boring institution doing its job. Unfortunately, in Greece statistics is a combat sport.”’


Statement of the European Statistical System Committee

 on recent developments concerning ELSTAT in Greece

ESS Logo

Press Release  07.02.13

‘Statement of the Members of the European Statistical System (composed of Eurostat and National Statistical Institutes of EU/EFTA Member States) on recent developments concerning ELSTAT in Greece. 

We the undersigned, who collectively as members of the European Statistical System Committee are responsible for overseeing the production of European Statistics to be in compliance with the highest professional standards throughout the European Union, wish to express our deep concern at recent developments with regard to ELSTAT in Greece, which
we believe can affect not only the integrity of official statistics in that country, but also the functioning of the European Statistical System as a whole.

While fully respecting the independence of national judicial systems and abstaining from commenting on on-going court cases, we are concerned that political debates surrounding judicial action taken against the Head of the Greek statistical office (ELSTAT) and the calling into question of the validity of data which have repeatedly passed the stringent quality checks applied by Eurostat to ensure full compliance with European law seem to disregard commonly agreed European procedures. …

… We are confident that Greek authorities will do everything necessary to protect the independence of ELSTAT, its management and its staff from political and all other interference and support ELSTAT in ensuring that statistics in Greece are produced in line with the principles of the European Statistics Code of Practice.

The European Statistical System will very closely observe the further developments in the Greek statistical system.

The Director General of Eurostat and the Presidents/Directors General
of National Statistical Institutes of the European Union and EFTA’

-> full press release of ESSC (European Statistical System Committee) and link page


Background information.

Eurostat 2010 Visit to Greece Report

EDP = Excessive Deficit Procedure


‘… from August 2010, when I took up my post, and for five consecutive biannual publications, the Greek public finance statistics have been accepted by Eurostat without any reservations, following the envisaged checks and validations, and the reliability of these statistics is not doubted by any European or international institution. This holds true also for the fiscal deficit
of 2009, for the calculation of which Eurostat has repeatedly and formally declared that it has been carried out in accordance with the rules and methodology that are provided for in a binding manner in European Law….’

Europe has an Open Data Portal, too

The European Commission

opened its Open Data Portal some days ago.
Powered by CKAN.
Most of the 5811 datasets (97%) are statistical ones provided by Eurostat.
Top Publishers
Eurostat (5634 datasets)
European Environment Agency (106 datasets)
Joint Research Centre (37 datasets)
Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (12 datasets)
Publications Office (11 datasets)
Directorate-General for Education and Culture (3 datasets)
Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (2 datasets)
Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (1 datasets)
Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry (1 datasets)
Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (1 datasets)‘.

Linked Open Data are provided

An important step! ‘The European Commission Open Data Portal is well aligned with the initiatives of linked data and semantic web technologies. The dataset metadata is available as triples on triple store and attached to the dataset records.’

One App for the moment…

… but an interesting one creating visualisations based on RDF input, with javascript based output (Highcharts charting library).
CubeViz is a facetted browser for statistical data utilizing the RDF Data Cube vocabulary which is the state-of-the-art in representing statistical data in RDF. This vocabulary is compatible with SDMX and increasingly being adopted.’

EU Energy Data Visualisation

Last week I attended a meeting on user support at Eurostat and we’ve seen a presentation of a cute tool which was developed during the “Eurostat Hackday”. No, this was not an excercise on how to hack the Eurostat website to jeopardize EU statistics dissemination. It was an Open Knowledge Foundation initiative to build some tools with available EU data without any pre-defined guidelines for developers. The event was supported by Eurostat (but only after overcoming the fear of being hacked ;-)) and was organized on 16th December 2010 (see the website for more information).

On one hand I find the tool very appealing from visual and content point of view, on another it demonstrates the opportunities of making data publicly available and promoting cooperation with universities and independant developers.

You can click on the picture to open the tool or read more on it’s background on the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog.

Enjoy :-)

EU Energy indicators visualisation tool

Storytelling with maps and graphs – Some examples

It’s like an app, a separate presentation not embedded into the navigation of the mother website. One single link only – behind the NSI logo – gives the context to the whole statistical content offered by Statistics Italia. I speak of … noi italia.

And it’s beautiful. A mix of static and dynamic (flash, delivered by NCVA) content, text (some call it storytelling) with interactive graphs and maps. .

With the same technology used by noi italia Statistics Sweden just launched its Statistikatlas and also some thematical visualisations or vislets integrated into the website.

Compare i.e. with EUROSTATS Table Graph Maps application which has no texts or storytelling included.

Or with Switzerland’s Stat@las.

NComVA: Enable anyone to easily create and share interactive statistics news through our recognized Publishing tools

Statistics eXplorer help you discover patterns and insight to provide the basis for better understanding and decisions with the same tools and methodologies that today are used by our customers OECD, Eurostat, World Bank and many national and regional statistics bureaus. Passing on knowledge from your analysis and storytelling through our Publisher Statistics to your website or blog using a Flash based dynamic visualization. Statistics Explorer represents a unique and elegant layout where the visualization is in focus and user interfaces reside invisible in the background. An effective combination of time-linked views can simultaneously analyze and visualize data and help you make the right decision when you need to know more about national or regional statistics.
Customizable (Open) Statistics eXplorer is the generic version of Statistics eXplorer for customizing statistics visualization applications for any regions and their related indicators. Our standard products World eXplorer (nations), Europe eXplorer (NUTS2 and NUTS3) and Sweden eXplorer (counties and municipalities) integrate data from official databases (World Bank, Eurostat, Statistics Sweden, SKL, etc.) with your own indicators and let you, for example, compare your regions of interest with others.