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=E2=80=A2 The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernme=
ntal organisation for the promotion of free trade and economic integration =
to benefit its four Member States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switz=
erland. Since the beginning of the 90s, EFTA has progressively developed a =
statistical cooperation policy with Eurostat.
=E2=80=A2 For Iceland, = Liechtenstein and Norway, statistical cooperation with Eurostat is provided= for in the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) which gathers the= 3 EFTA countries and the 27 EU Member States into a single market.
= =E2=80=A2 Statistical Cooperation between Switzerland and Eurostat is gover= ned by a bilateral agreement.
Objective of EFTA Statistical Cooperation=20
The EFTA Statistical Office (ESO) was created as a liaison office betwee= n Eurostat and the EFTA national statistical institutes. ESO's main objecti= ve is to promote the full inclusion of the EFTA States in the European Stat= istical System (ESS), and thus provide harmonised and comparable statistics= supporting the general cooperation process between EFTA and the EU within = and outside the EEA Agreement. The cooperation also entails technical coope= ration programmes with third countries and training of European statisticia= ns. ESO is located on the premises of Eurostat, the Statistical Office of t= he European Union, in Luxembourg.=20
A specific EEA annual statistical programme is developed every year by t= he EFTA Statistical Office in consultation with the EFTA National Statistic= al Institutes. The EEA annual statistical programme is based on a subset of= , and in parallel with the annual statistical programme elaborated by the E= uropean Commission.=20
Switzerland/EU annual statistical programme=20
A specific annual statistical programme is drawn up every year in the fr= amework of the agreement in the field of statistics between Switzerland and= the EU.=20
EFTA attaches great importance to quality and comparability of European = statistics and therefore supports Eurostat in the design and implementation= of an ambitious European Statistical Training Programme (ESTP). In 2012, t= he EFTA Secretariat will fund the organisation of three ESTP courses respec= tively on Geographic Information Systems (Norway), User-friendly disseminat= ion of statistics (Norway), and Data analysis and data modelling (Switzerla= nd). These courses are provided by EFTA National Statistical Institutes and= open for participation of statisticians from EFTA and EU Member States. In= return, EFTA statisticians will be invited to participate in all ESTP cour= ses supported and financed by the European Commission (Eurostat). Other app= licants may be admitted to the courses depending on the availability of pla= ces.=20
EFTA technical cooperation programmes and activities are governed by a M= emorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the EFTA Secretariat and Eurostat.= The MoU's overall objective is to avoid gaps or overlapping in technical a= ssistance toward countries where the European Union is also active, through= direct involvement of the four EFTA States in statistical programmes run b= y the European Commission. EFTA's involvement in technical cooperation prog= rammes under the MoU gives priority to countries that have concluded declar= ations on cooperation or free trade agreements with EFTA. In 2012, support = will be mainly granted to economies in transition in Eastern Europe, Caucas= us and Central Asia (EECCA), Western Balkans and Mediterranean regions (Med= stat). EFTA cooperation will give priority to global assessments of nationa= l statistical systems in light of the revised European Statistics Code of P= ractice as well as seminars and study visits on socio-economic statistics, = applied statistical methods and management of technical assistance in stati= stics.=20