Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 30 million

Official Journal Reference

L 327 of 1996-12-18

Legislative Reference

96/715/CE of 1996-12-09
To create standardized infrastructures at European level, as a first stage, for the collection of returns from businesses on the trading of goods, the validation and pre-processing of such returns and the dissemination of the statistics derived from them.


The purpose of the Edicom (electronic data interchange on commerce) programme is to establish a set of measures aimed at facilitating the conversion of regional, national and Community systems towards interoperable systems at European level. As a first stage, these measures focus on the collection of returns from businesses on the trading of goods, the validation and pre-processing of such returns and the dissemination of the statistics derived from them.

These systems are to be based on distributed information systems at regional, national and Community levels. In particular, they are to be based on the use of electronic data interchange (EDI) for the transmission of statistical returns. Computerized procedures may be made available to the competent national and Community authorities and to the parties responsible for providing statistical information by agreement with the responsible national bodies.

The interoperability of the regional, national and Community systems at European level is to be guaranteed by the development and use of harmonized standards and communication procedures.

A Council Decision adopting an Edicom programme for the period 1994-1999 was first adopted by Council Decision 94/445/EC on 11 July 1944. This Decision was annulled by the Court of Justice by its judgement of 26 March 1996.


Five components:

- Implementation of the telematic network;

- Opening up access to the telematic network to parties responsible for providing statistical information;

- Adapting the national and Community systems;

- International harmonization work;

- Promotion, training, back-up, supervision, coordination.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the programme. It is assisted by the Statistical Programme Committee, established by Decision 89/382/EEC, Euratom, in drawing up, quantifying and approving Edicom's annual work programme. For matters concerning calls for tender and the evaluation of projects and measures over ECU 200,000, the Commission is assisted by the "committee on statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States" which was established under Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91.

Measures under Edicom are only undertaken where a clear need for Community action has been established. In agreement with the competent authorities in the Member States, and bearing in mind the preferential use of existing technologies and products, activities under the programme may cover, in particular, the following:

- Design, development and promotion of software for the collection, validation and transmission of statistical information, and assistance to Member States in making that software available to businesses;

- Design, development and promotion of software for the acceptance, validation, processing and dissemination of data, providing assistance for, and making the software available to, regional, national and Community bodies responsible for collecting statistical information, and where necessary, the upgrading of equipment;

- Design, development and implementation of formats for the exchange of information, on the basis of European and international standards, and making them available;

- Design, documentation and promotion of methods, protocols and interfaces to be used in the exchange of information;

- Making software and service suppliers aware of the requirements of national and Community statistics.

In implementing these measures, the following general aims are to be taken into account:

- To facilitate the introduction and use of systems by means of promotion and awareness campaigns aimed mainly at businesses and users which are conducted by the competent Community bodies in agreement with national and regional bodies;

- To undertake special measures for the benefit of less developed regional and national bodies to enable them to take part in these systems;

- To promote the use of the most appropriate telematic technologies and tools to meet the needs of the statistical system, and their incorporation into the various computer environments of the authorities concerned.

A budget of ECU 30 million has been allocated for the implementation of actions under the programme for the period 1997-1999. Annual appropriations are to be authorized by the budget authority within the limit of this financial perspective.

The Commission is responsible for ensuring that the activities implemented under Edicom are coordinated with the multiannual Community programme to support the implementation of trans-European information networks for the interchange of data between administrations (IDA). The IDA programme was adopted on 6 November 1995 by Council Decision 95/468/EC (Official Journal No L 269 of 11.11.1995).

Upon completion of Edicom, the Commission is required to submit a report on the implementation of the programme to the European Parliament and the Council including, if appropriate, proposals for future measures.
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