On May 23, the EU-funded Twinning Project on Statistics presented its final results. The €1 million Project has helped the State Statistics Service of Ukraine (SSSU) since November 2011 to implement changes required for the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
The project played an important role in attempts to “further harmonise Ukrainian statistics with EU standards,” said the SSSU’s chair, Oleksander Osaulenko, during the project’s closing event. Achievements made by the Ukrainian statistics service, “are to a great extent thanks to effective co-operation with our colleagues from international statistical organisations,” he added.
According to Andrew Rasbash, head of operations of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, independent, reliable and honest statistics, accessible to all decision makers, are not only “necessary for the proper management of the economy,” but also “essential for the democratic control of the country by its citizens.” The EU support to reforming the statistics sector, and this Twinning project in particular, “has led toward an ever clearer and more accurate statistical system in Ukraine,” he says.
The EU-funded Twinning project has improved Ukraine’s macroeconomic and business statistics by bringing the SSSU’s activities and methodologies more in line with the European Statistical Practice Code. The Code sets standards for the production and dissemination of statistics, ensuring they are of high quality, internationally comparable and easily accessible. The Twinning project has therefore allowed Ukraine to switch over to a new economic activity classification system that will mean that the country’s economic activities are classified compatibly with the EU system.
Progress in the application of European standards in the production of statistics, “is only possible if the infrastructure for the independence and impartiality of the statistical office is guaranteed by law and in practice,” says Claudia Junker, head of the Statistical Cooperation Unit at Eurostat. She also believes that with the support of the EU and international organisations, the SSSU has embarked on a “considerable reform of the statistical system.”
Statistics Denmark, the Danish national statistics organisation, has been the project’s lead partner. Its director, Lars Thygesen, believes that a system of high-quality, independent and accessible statistics is “one of the pillars of democracy.” Statistics Denmark worked on the project with 35 experts from seven different national institutes (Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). Additionally, 150 Ukrainian statisticians, including staff from regional statistical offices and representatives of users and stakeholders, benefitted from 70 working missions in Kyiv and Lviv, study visits to EU statistical offices, seminars with users, and expert workshops.
Twinning projects bring together public bodies from Ukraine and EU member states to share expertise and best practices in working toward reforms. A Ukrainian institution, together with an EU member state civil servant based in the institution called a Resident Twinning Adviser, runs workshops, training sessions, expert missions and provides advice to improve citizen services and create a legal framework modelled after good European practices.