Europeisk befolknings- og boligstatistikk
BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsforslaget, engelsk utgave)
Reasons for and objectives of the proposal
Timely, reliable, detailed and comparable European statistics are needed to develop and implement policies and activities for the EU’s benefit in the areas the EU has competence in, as established by Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The Commission is monitoring and reporting on the demographic situation in the EU in line with Article 159 TFEU. For their part, EU institutions need accurate and comparable population figures for administrative and procedural purposes, e.g. for qualified majority voting in the Council. These statistics also provide essential inputs for public research by generating insights and keeping society informed of developments. Population estimates are also needed to obtain per capita indicators for statistics. Population statistics provide input for population projections for long-term EU economic and budgetary projections specifically and EU economic, social and cohesion policies generally. They are also something the public can easily relate to because they describe facts and events that concern each individual.
In the context of this initiative, European statistics on population (ESOP) mean official statistics at EU level on population, demographic events and migration and the various indicators based on these statistics. Eurostat has published statistics in these areas since 1960, when the first survey on the size and structure of the active population in the then Member States was introduced. Since then, population statistics have been produced mainly by taking results from direct population enumerations during censuses and interpolating intermediate periods with information on population changes taken from administrative systems for civil registration (on births, deaths and migration). The ongoing move from traditional field censuses to combined or even fully register-based censuses minimises the production burden on the general public by basing the compilation of these statistics mainly on administrative data sources.
Until 2007, Member States voluntarily transmitted all population data. This led to inconsistencies and a lack of completeness or timeliness, as the recent evaluation of the situation shows. Article 338 TFEU obliges the legislator to adopt measures for the production of official statistics where necessary for EU policies. Today, population statistics are based on a legal framework adopted between 2007 and 2013. In the first place, Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 set up requirements for migration statistics in line with the Action Plan for the collection and analysis of Community statistics in the field of migration . Article 3 of the Regulation covers statistics on immigration to and emigration from the Member States’ territories, including flows from one Member State’s territory to another’s and flows between a Member State and a third country’s territory, statistics on the citizenship and country of birth of people usually resident in the Member States’ territory, and statistics on citizenship acquisitions. In the second place, Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 established common rules for the provision every 10 years of comprehensive census data on population and housing in the EU. This ensured the compilation of detailed data on predetermined demographic, social and economic characteristics of people, families and households, as well as on national, regional and local housing characteristics. Finally, Regulation (EU) No 1260/2013 established the common rules for European demographic data, including data requirements on population stocks and vital events such as births and deaths. Regulation (EU) No 1260/2013 also obliges Member States to provide the Commission (Eurostat) with harmonised data on the total population at national level to be used as weights for qualified majority voting in the Council.
The evaluation conducted by the Commission has shown that the current legal framework of the three acts mentioned above has significantly improved European population statistics overall. EU added value has been increased significantly and all EU policy and institutional needs for population statistics have been met. However, the evaluation has also revealed the reduced – and further reducing – relevance, coherence, consistency and comparability of population data and statistics across Member States, with negative effects for the decision-making based on them. A new legal basis is therefore needed to provide a long-term framework for developments that are necessary for further harmonising European population statistics. The framework should also provide sufficient flexibility to better adapt to changing policy needs and seize the opportunities arising from new data sources. There are also potential opportunities for administrative simplification and process integration instead of the current fragmentary state of affairs in this area. This initiative is therefore being included in the 2022 Commission Work Programme as a regulatory fitness (REFIT) initiative.
As the evaluation acknowledges, statistical EU population data – including demographic and migration events and information on families, households and housing arrangements – are vital for evidence-based policymaking. High quality statistics on all Member States are essential for many EU policy areas and initiatives. Apart from the long-standing use cases mentioned above, four out of six Commission priorities for 2019-2024 have identified clear needs for specific EU population statistics as data evidence for these policies: A European Green Deal, Promoting our European way of life, A new push for European democracy and An economy that works for people. The final proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe have also identified a need for further EU efforts to collect such data.
The evaluation supported by the stakeholder consultation has also identified various major gaps in the current statistical framework, especially insufficient geographic and statistical detail and the lack of timeliness and frequency of statistical outputs. The evaluation’s findings were supported by the stakeholder consultation that involved institutional and other professional users at EU and other levels. In the impact assessment, the policy options for this initiative were assessed on their capacity to fill these gaps. This legislative proposal draws on the detailed findings of the evaluation and impact assessment to address these gaps effectively and proportionately.
In 2014, to meet emerging statistical needs, the Commission (Eurostat) began modernising social statistics, with the support of Member States’ national statistical institutes (NSIs). This led to the adoption, as Regulation (EU) 2019/1700, of a common legal framework for European statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples of persons and households. This framework is fundamental for laying solid foundations at European level for collecting data from samples. This initiative on European statistics on population is the second core component of this modernisation process. Early high-level support for the initiative in the European Statistical System (ESS) was expressed in the 2017 Budapest Memorandum, endorsing action to flexibly respond to changing needs, further harmonise concepts and definitions, and expand annual data collection including data on migration and geographic detail.
On the basis of the findings of the evaluation and impact assessment, this legislative proposal contains ambitious elements to strengthen the links between and general consistency of all EU social statistics based on persons and households. The proposal contains provisions aimed at developing a harmonised definition of population based on sound statistical concepts for all outputs, and to facilitate access to available data sources that will improve the production processes and general quality of social statistics. The proposal also contains provisions to align population and international migration statistics more with statistics on administrative and judicial events related to asylum, legal and irregular migration under Articles 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Regulation (EC) No 862/2007.