|Bart Meganck (Luxembourg)||Bart.MEGANK@cec.eu.int|
|1. This is not a conventional paper
on the teaching of statistics: rather, it is concerned with learning about
statistics, an area in which the Statistical Office of the European Communities
(Eurostat) has played a key role. It all began with the signing of the Treaty
of Maastricht in February 1992, which set Europe on course for monetary
union by the end of the 20th century. Eurostat was keen to anticipate the
new statistical needs to which monetary union would give rise, by closely
involving the central banks in the development of the Statistical Programme
which it would necessitate. With this in mind, it set up the Committee for
Monetary, Financial and Balance of Payments Statistics (CMFB), in which
both senior statisticians from the statistical offices and senior officials
from the statistical departments of the central banks were represented.
2. The CMFB spent its first few years looking for an identity, defining its role and resolving conflicts of competence between the central banks and statistical institutes. The Committee gradually began to concern itself with substantive statistical issues, such as conceptual work, methodology, statistical harmonization, exchanges of experiences with statistical techniques, and quality audits. For these purposes, it deploys its various working parties and task forces, which bring together representatives of statistical institutes, central banks, the European Central Bank and Eurostat and, in some cases, external experts. By involving the network of central banks (themselves major producers and consumers of statistics), Eurostat has created opportunities for exchanging statistical knowledge relating to the above-mentioned topics, which in many cases were previously uncharted territory.
3. Knowledge transfer has not been confined to EU Member States alone: in the last few years, it has been an important tool for preparing the candidate countries' Statistical Programme. More recently still, it has become apparent that both industrialized and developing non-European countries are interested in this type of exchange of statistical knowledge.
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