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Statistics support: European statistical laboratory (ESL)


Specific Objectives

In 2002: Consolidate and implement the MoU with DG ECFIN, while maintaining the collaboration with ESTAT. Expand the collaboration with EIB, and ECB. Develop the collaboration with DG MARKT on financial instruments.
Planned Deliverables

In 2002

Specific deliverables to DGs:

In support to DG ESTAT:
-Networking and technology transfer. Continue the activity, also thanks to the AMRADS and NESIS competitive projects, that have excellent synergy with the project;
-Assisting in the preparation of thematic workshops on the 6 themes of AMRADS;
-Elicitations of policies, related to NESIS (Policy Owners options and objectives survey in the area of new economy);
-Also related to NESIS, Preliminary analysis of e-Government progress in three EU countries;
-Further development of the help desk on time series analysis;
-Assist ISTAT (the Italian Statistical Office) in the preparation of a major integrated project in FP6. This will entail the creation of an FP5 network to prepare it;
-Training based on JRC competence and software at ESTAT and at accession countries;
-Technology transfer of JRC products after identification of means and tools.

In support to DG ECFIN:
-Macroeconomic modelling (QUEST II). Working paper based on the analysis delivered on September 2001 (data for France), with additional data from other countries;
-Program GAP: code for automatic output gap and NAIRU estimation plus user interface and user-manual;
-Recommendation to the Economic Policy Committee about real-time output gap estimates;
-Recommendation for the monitoring of EU economic conditions by composite indexes for the EU economy;
-Inputs to the European directives on capital requirements (DG MARKT, Unit F1) for financial institutions to be conceived in response to Basle 2 (also for EIB).

In support to DG EEA (IPSC exploratory Research):
-Following indications from EEA, tackle a test case that prove the merits of an integrated approach to robust and quality-assured appraisal methodologies in environmental assessment (in collaboration with project IPSC 38) . This is based on IPSC Exploratory Research on Integration of Sustainability into Sectoral Policies [3] and on IMPACT, ARTEMIS projects, that are synergic to it.

As a result of the research:
-Make use of the APPST sector expertise (sensitivity analysis, time series analysis), to make original contributions to economic and financial risk modelling, as well as to general methodology, e.g. for accelerating the computation of sensitivity indices or the analysis of unobserved components in economic time series. Follow up of papers submitted or to appear on JASA, JBES, J. of Econometrics [4];
-Given the success of our first book "Sensitivity Analysis" (Wiley Publisher, sold out after less than 1-year sales), complete our second book "Sensitivity Analysis: a primer. How to assess parameters importance in model based studies".

Summary of deliverables 2001: 31/12/2001
Scientific Outputs
-Sold 800 copies of the sensitivity analysis book. Papers published on Statistical Science, International Journal of Geographic Information Science, Ecological Modelling, Computer Physics Communications, Remote Sensing of Environment, Journal of Business Economic and Statistics.

Specific deliverables to DG ECFIN
-Delivery of a software (GAP) on output gap analysis to DG ECFIN (October 2001), plus support for installation and use. Support from IPSC acknowledged in an official document from ECFIN to the Economic and Policy Committee (EPC) of the EU (on NAIRU estimates);
-Delivery of a study on the technological innovation component equation of QUEST II (October 2001);
-Joint ECFIN-series working papers on the two subjects above.

Specific deliverables to DG ESTAT
-Joint organisation with DG ESTAT of the NTTS-ETK conference on Official Statistics in Crete, June 2001, 300 participants from 3 continents;
-TSAOS web help desk developed but still to be modified to meet DG ESTAT requirements;
-Support work for ESTAT-F1, estimation of missing agricultural data through the implementation of the TRAMO procedure into the AGRI system.

Deliverables associated to Competitive Projects
-ALPHA version of the BUSY software for business cycle analysis delivered in September 2001;
-Software development on schedule for the FLASH software (Estimates of Quarterly National Accounts Main Aggregates);
-Start of AMRADS (Supporting technology transfer in the European Statistical System - Accompanying measure to research in official statistics), January 2001 (100% financed);
-Contribution to the first web-edition of the newsletter on strategic environmental assessment and transportation planning, published by the Transport Research Laboratory, UK, in January 2001 [5];
-Start of NESIS (New Economy Statistical Information System, November 2001 (100% financed);
-Start of DIECOFIS (Indicators on Competitiveness and Fiscal Impact on Enterprise Performance), November 2001 (50% financed);
-Award of KDNet (European Knowledge Discovery Network of Excellence) September 2001 (100% financed);
-Award and completion of a third party work (TPW)for EIB on international accounting standards (IAS) 39. Preparation of another TPW for EIB on long term volatility;
-Award of a TPW for AGIP-ENI, an oil company, on uncertainty and sensitivity analysis of oil basins yield. Extension of the TPW to SHELL, another oil company in consortium with AGIP-ENI;
-Award of an exploratory research Integration of Sustainability into Sectoral Policies (in collaboration with IPSC 38);
-End of IMPACT (Estimation of Human Impact in the Presence of Natural Fluctuations), a shared cost action.

Important events
-Meeting at director level between JRC-IPSC and the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, May 2001;
-Presentation of the IMPACT project to the staff of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen (June 2001);
-Presentation of IPSC exploratory research (see above) to DG Environment - Unit A1, August 2001;
-Invitation to Andrea Saltelli to prepare and read a white paper on sensitivity analysis methods for models used in risk analysis of the food chain, by the US Department of Agriculture;
-Andrea Saltelli reads the introductory, keynote lecture at the SAMO 2001 conference in Madrid on sensitivity analysis (June 2001);
-Stefano Tarantola gives a keynote lecture on sensitivity analysis at the International Biometric Society Conference in Savonlinna (SF), June 2001;
-The APPST sector reaches the staff number of 14, as suggested by the internal audit, and a budget of 2 m€/y, of which half competitively earned.

Training provided fully by APPST sector
-Two-day course on sensitivity analysis to the PhD students of Engineering, Venice University, February 2001;
-Tutorial on Sensitivity Analysis at ESREL 2001, Turin, September 2001;
-Course on Time Series Analysis at INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques), Paris, October 2001;
-Seminar at ISTAT (Italian Statistic Institute) on sensitivity analysis, Rome, July 2001;
-Course on Time Series Analysis at ISTAT Rome, December 2001.

Output Indicators and Impact

1. New EU Legislation in which JRC has contributed to its definition
-For the work for ECFIN, the indicators are ECFIN-series papers, the software delivered (e.g. for output gap analysis), and possibly Economic Policy Committee (EPC) working documents. Support letters from ECB are also possible, as well as a third party work from this institution. A third party work from EIB on volatility analysis is also possible, as well as letters of acknowledgement of DG MARKT. One was received already for the European directives on capital requirements;

2. Deliverables to Member States and International Organisations on EU issues
-Dissemination to National Statistical Offices and Central Banks of software for business cycle analysis;

3. Results of the Customer Survey;

4. Contribution to EU standardisation and reference systems
-The activity on business cycle analysis aims to a harmonised EU approach, e.g. via the establishment of an official chronology for turning points;
-The ensemble of the SAMO series conference, the summer schools and our reference works have established a de facto reference system on sensitivity analysis;

5. Scientific Publications
-In 2001 we had 7 papers in peer reviewed journals of good impact index, 7 in proceedings of conferences, one EUR report [4].

[4] See forthcoming publications at
forth.asp published works at
Summary of the project

The European Statistical Laboratory's was born to support to DG ESTAT to promote best practice and technology transfer between National Statistical Institutes (NSI's) and research programmes, in order to increase efficiency and cohesion of the European Statistical System. It has evolved, also thanks to a plurality of cooperative projects, into a research and support project whose main beneficiary are DG ECFIN and DG ESTAT. DG ECFIN has become a major customer for the project in 2002 and -in perspective, in FP6. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DG ECFIN is being elaborated that focuses on Macroeconomic modelling within the model QUEST II, as well as on NAIRU, output gap modelling, short term analysis.

The work on technology transfer in official statistics remains focused on the needs of DG ESTAT. Priority actions for dissemination and exploitation for DG ESTAT are the organisation of training, seminars, workshops and user groups, to encourage and facilitate the take up of research results in official statistics by the NSI's.
Among these, the ETK-NTTS conference in Crete in 2001 has been a milestone for the project.

DG RTD has also expressed interest for the activity of ESL, especially as far as work on indicators is concerned. DG MARKT asked for support on the capital adequacy directive. EEA is interested in the work on uncertainty and sensitivity analysis for knowledge assessment and on indicators of sustainability (collaboration with IPSC 38).
The refocus of ESL follows the recommendations of JRC internal audit[1].

[1] " It is a result of the success of this project that ISIS should seek to formally end the 'Project' and form a permanent team of experts. This is a good example of how a successful project can result in the formation of an import and permanent service available from the JRC "


The Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, is a key actor in the preparation and the smooth functioning of Economic and Monetary Union [2].
ESTAT mission is to provide the European Union with a high quality statistical information service. JRC and DG ECFIN have reached an agreement to collaborate on macroeconomic modelling and short-term analysis. The collaboration with ESTAT, though successful, has experienced difficulties, expressed by DG ESTAT at the HLUG of July 2001. DG ESTAT desires to receive support in terms of service and technology transfer (of which a software repository and demonstration centre and the organisation of conferences are examples) and is not interested in receiving support on short-term analysis. DG MARKT is interested in the activity of financial modelling, e.g. at present on the Capital Adequacy Directive. DG RTD is interested in the analysis of the robustness of indicators of technological change. The collaboration with the European Central Bank, the EU monetary authority, and with the European Investment Bank, the main lending arm of the European Union, are of an evident strategic nature, and of interest for DG ECFIN. As suggested in the JRC internal audit, the JRC should pursue these collaborations, while asking these institutions to contribute part of the financing.

[2] Its tasks include: (i) monitoring and assessing the economies of Member States [...] (iv) analysing and over viewing the functioning of the European Monetary System and the International Monetary System; [...](vii) macro-economic advice on structural reforms (especially those linked to the Employment strategy); (viii) contributing to the economic aspects of the Enlargement process [...] (xii) co-ordination of international economic policies via relations with other international institutions (

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