Transformation of Estonian Statistical System to the European Statistical System – Main Aspects and Experiences
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A lot of similar features can be observed in the development of the Eastern and Western European statistical systems during the past 20 years, but there are also a lot of differences. While after the collapse of the Communist Block the CIS countries started to co-ordinate statistical activities, the other group of countries followed the goal of acceding to the European Union. For this reason the development of statistical systems in these countries was almost completely focused on taking into use the shaped and continuously developing practice of the European Statistical System. The transition experience of these countries was of great value. For its small size and compactness, Estonia can be looked upon as a laboratory where new undertakings can be implemented more easily compared to large systems. Transition experiences can be observed from different aspects. A new legal-institutional framework had to be established, sample-based survey methodologies and new classifications had to be put into use, collection of entirely new type of data (e.g. the intra-Community foreign trade statistics) had to be prepared, and statistical registers had to be established. As the resources of transition society are scarce, the organisation and processes had to be organised as effectively as possible in order to cope with a large-scope statistical programme of the EU. Estonia has the IT-state image but swift implementation of opportunities arising from the IT development in the production of statistics has not proved easy. Nevertheless, during the last decade, the data collection, processing and publication have undergone great development. One of the most important aspects ensuring successful transition is a change in the mentality of statistical organisation. The transition period has proved that encouraging the younger generation specialists to stay at Statistics Estonia has been a real challenge and in several spheres we have managed to fulfil time- and energy-consuming tasks due to the great devotion of our specialists who are known for their long-term experience.
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