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Joint UNECE/OECD/Eurostat meeting of the group of experts on business registers 3-4 September 2013, Geneva Session 1: Economic globalisation and statistical business registers .

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Joint UNECE/OECD/Eurostat meeting of thegroup of experts on business registers3-4 September 2013, Geneva

Session 1: Economic globalisationand statistical business registers

Interoperability of business registers in the European Statistical System: the Eurostat VIP.ESBRs project.Amerigo Liotti, Eurostat



Presentation plan

  • Introduction
  • Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics (Vision) and its implementation
  • Interoperability in the context of the ESBRsproject
  • Conclusions: till 2017 and beyond


  • From 2009 Eurostat started a process of re-engineering the ESS statistical production.
  • ESBRs (2013-2017) was launched in this context.
  • ESBRs project provides continuity to two previous ESS projects (EGR & Profiling), but it has a larger scope.
  • Ambition = to rationalise, strengthen and systematise all statistical business registers in the ESS.
  • Two new dimensions:
    • Interoperability of statistical business registers (SBR) in the ESS
    • Sharing common statistical services in the ESS.
  • This paper presents the ESBRs project, focussing in particular on interoperability: its meaning and what path it is envisaged in order to achieve it.

The Vision

Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics: "a vision for the next decade (2009)" proposes:

  • new measures to increase the ESS flexibility and hence its ability to respond to new needs and challenges.
  • full re-engineering of the production methods of statistics within the EU, going from a production system often based on numerous parallel processes to a more integrated production model.


  • increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness
  • improve the coherence and comparability of data.
the ess vip programme consists of three pillars

The Vision implementation

The ESS.VIP Programme consists of three pillars:
  • Building up common infrastructure for sharing information services;
  • Piloting the sharing of information, services and costs in selected statistical domains;
  • Developing frameworks and administrative mechanisms for sharing information, services and costs.

VIP.ESBRs is one of the business cases chosen at ESSC level as pilot projects (second VIP pillar).

European SystemofinteroperablestatisticalBusinessRegistersa Vision Infrastructure Project (VIP)



Objectivesand phases

In 2013 ESBRs overlaps with previous projects (EGR and Profiling)

 Implementation


 Investigation 

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017



  • Definitions
  • Interoperability = ability of diverse entities (computer systems and/or organisations) to exchange information and work together towards mutually beneficial and commonly agreed goals.
  • Syntactic interoperability of entities = they are capable of communicating and exchanging data.

Concerns data formats, communication protocols and the like. Necessary condition for further interoperability.

  • Semantic interoperability of entities = they are able to automatically interpret the information exchanged.

Common information exchange reference model.

What is sent is the same as what is understood.

  • Interoperability framework = agreed approach to interoperability for organisations that wish to work together towards a joint goal.

Set of common elements (vocabulary, concepts, principles, policies, guidelines, recommendations, standards, specifications and practices).



  • Administrative BRs
  • Directive 2012/17/EU on administrative BRs

Interconnection of registers in order to facilitate cross-border electronic access to business information,

    • Business registers are updated
    • Business information is more easily and readily accessible: translated in all EU languages
    • Companies have a unique identifier
  • The implementation of the directive through implementing acts and transposition in Member States is expected to be finalised by 2017

in the ESBRs framework

  • Interoperability
  • Some work on the way to interoperability of SBRs in the ESS has already started in recent years.
    • unique identifier for legal units
    • sources of inconsistencies in business statistics
  • This will be the starting point for the definition of a minimum set of requirements for interoperability that will become the ESBRs interoperability framework.
  • Common statistical standards and statistical services will also contribute to the interoperability of SBRs in the ESS.

Unique identifier

  • Interoperability
  • Unique identifier = unambiguous communication, less mistakes and more efficiency.
  • Several on-going initiatives at EU and world level.
  • EGR identification service
    • Available soon
    • Valid for all members of the EGR network.
    • Can be used by BR staff as well as by statisticians, e.g. FDI or FATS statisticians.
    • Objective: to use the officially recognised unique identifier in Europe (and possibly at world level).
    • Eurostat’s initiative the most advanced one
    • The identifier structure is modular and can be easily converted into the officially recognised identifier, when agreed.

Reduction of inconsistencies

  • Interoperability
  • ESSnet on Consistency indicated the main sources of inconsistencies.
  • ESBRS will take them into account in its action plan towards interoperability.

ESBRs Interoperability framework

  • Interoperability
  • Analysis of best practices in the ESS countries.
  • Interoperability framework = Minimum set of requirements for interoperability.
    • Based on feasibility and cost/effectiveness of best practices in ESS countries.
  • Roadmap for implementation.
    • It is expected that by end 2017 most ESS countries will be compliant with the set of requirements.
    • Support will be provided by Eurostat.

Common statistical standards

  • Interoperability
  • One of the main elements in the interoperability framework.
  • Common standards not just for SBRs but for the whole ESS
    • VIP.CRC.IMS (Information Models and Standards) project
    • Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX)
    • Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)
    • The Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM) providing a common abstract representation of statistical activities
    • The Generic Statistical Information Model (GSIM), a common abstract representation of data objects manipulated in official statistical production (overarching model for implementation standards such as SDMX or DDI).

Common statistical services

  • Interoperability
  • Service - Representation of a real world business activity with a specified outcome.
    • Self-contained
    • Can be shared by a number of business processes
  • Statistical service – Service which perform a task in the statistical production process.
    • Can be shared by a number of business processes (either within or across statistical organizations)
  • Not just common for SBRs but for the whole ESS
    • VIP.CRC.SERV (Shared Services) project
    • Target: a platform that can be used across the ESS to access and use a catalogue of shared statistical services, based on:
      • Standards and a framework for interoperability;
      • A service communication protocol.
  • ESBRs target: specific sub-catalogue for SBRs

Till 2017 and beyond

  • Conclusion
  • SBRs interoperability in the ESS – Not an easy goal in the short term
        • EBRS goal – Put SBRs on the right path,
          • Working hand in hand with the cross-cutting projects of the VIP Programme, it will create its own interoperability framework, coherent with the more general ESS ones.
          • ESBRs will initiate activities at EU level, as well as stimulate and support activities at national level in the ESS
          • The expected results are improved quality of SBRs in the ESS, a more efficient system and a better insight on globalisation.
        • SBRs Interoperability is expected to become a shared value in the ESS and to lead SBRs to go further on the path towards integration, efficiency gains and quality improvement, even after 2017.