The First Meeting of the Forum of Euro-Mediterranean Statisticians was organised by the Eurostat on 13-14 May 2013 in Luxembourg with the participation of 35 representatives from eight OIC Member Countries including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, and from relevant national statistical offices of European Union (EU) countries and EU institutions. Mr. Atilla Karaman, Acting Director of Statistics and Information Department, represented the Centre thereat.
The Directors Committee meeting that took place in May 2012 in Athens, Greece approved the setting up of a Forum of Euro-Mediterranean Statisticians, a high-level decision-making body whose role is to steer the cooperation and to discuss and validate joint work programmes. The main objective of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in statistics is to set up a continuing process of statistical harmonization to allow gradual convergence towards harmonised and comparable economic and social data in European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)-South countries and to increase compliance with European and international standards.
The first day of the meeting started with the opening statements of Mr. Pieter Everaers, Director of External Cooperation, Communication and Key Indicators at Eurostat. Before the sessions, the participating ENP-South countries adopted the agenda and elected Lebanon as the co-chair of the Forum. In the first session, the participants discussed the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Forum, ToR and Generic Mandate for the Working Groups (WG), and ToR and Work Programme for the WG on Quality in Statistics (QWG). The second session under the title “Strategy and Role of Eurostat” gave the opportunity to the participants to exchange views about the tasks and mandate of the Support Cell, and strategy for post-MEDSTAT cooperation in statistics – a technical cooperation programme for statistics in the ENP-South region to run until the end of 2013. The participants were briefed in the third session about the on-going work under the MEDSTAT-III programme and work programme for the rest of 2013. During session 4, the participants presented their proposal for WGs on Transport, Energy, Labour, Trade, and Business Statistics and Business Registers.
Five sessions were held on the second day of the meeting. During session 5 on “WG on Migration and Coordination of the MED-HIMS Project”, the discussions took place on the work of the proposed Migration WG and options for ensuring the coordinated follow-up of the MED-HIMS (Households International Migration Survey) programme, and the roll out of Round 2 in 2014. The discussions in the session 6 had the objective to brainstorm on how to move forward concerning the regional training programme after the finalisation of MEDSTAT-III. Following session 6, the representatives of each ENP-South country shared with the participants some of the concrete results of MEDSTAT-III in their countries in session 7. Before the last two sessions, the representative of the European Environment Agency (EEA) delivered a presentation on the latest developments concerning the Shared Environment Information System (SEIS) under the ENP.
The First Meeting of the Forum of Euro-Mediterranean Statisticians was finalised with the discussions on the draft agenda of the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) Seminar on “Statistics for Evidence-Based Decision Making” to be organised on 8-10 October 2013 in Brussels, Belgium in session 8 and a mini-seminar on Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) format in session 9.