PRESS RELEASE

The European Commission and the European Central Bank strengthen their co-operation on economic and financial statistics

10 March 2003

The European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) signed today a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Economic and Financial Statistics. These statistics summarise overall developments and are the only reliable source to assess macroeconomic and financial market developments such as inflation, economic growth and flow of funds. The MoU promotes high-quality, consistent economic and financial statistics at the Community level for the use of policy-makers and the public at large. The two parties in the MoU are responsible for the development, compilation and dissemination of these statistics in their respective domains of activity.

The MoU confirms the prime responsibility of the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) for General Economic Statistics comprising among others the harmonised index of consumer prices, data on output, production, labour markets, external trade and statistics linked to the excessive deficit procedure, and the prime responsibility of the ECB for Money, Banking and Financial Markets Statistics, comprising among others balance sheets of financial institutions, interest rates, prices of financial assets and securities statistics.

The MoU also strengthens the co-operation between the ECB and Eurostat in the areas of Balance of Payments, financial and non-financial National Accounts by institutional sector and concerning the statistical infrastructure. Thereby, the MoU takes into account the increasing statistical requirements in the European Union, in particular in view of the forthcoming enlargement. Trustworthy and high-quality statistics are in today's economies essential to policy-makers, financial markets and the public at large.

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