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Document 31998Y0207(01)

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Resolution of the ECSC Consultative Committee on statistical instruments in the coal and steel sectors (adopted unanimously during the 338th session of 18 December 1997)
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OJ C 40, 7.2.1998, p. 2–3 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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Dates
  • Date of document: 18/12/1997
  • Date of end of validity: 31/12/9999
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  • Author: Posvetovalni odbor Evropske skupnosti za premog in jeklo
  • Form: Resolucija
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31998Y0207(01)

Resolution of the ECSC Consultative Committee on statistical instruments in the coal and steel sectors (adopted unanimously during the 338th session of 18 December 1997)

Official Journal C 040 , 07/02/1998 P. 0002 - 0003


RESOLUTION OF THE ECSC CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE ON STATISTICAL INSTRUMENTS IN THE COAL AND STEEL SECTORS (adopted unanimously during the 338th session of 18 December 1997) (98/C 40/02)

1. THE ECSC CONCULTATIVE COMMITTEE,

1.1. recalls its previous positions on matters connected with the expiry of the ECSC Treaty in 2002 and the future of statistical instruments (1). It has noted that the ECSC statistical instruments relating to the industrial, economic, commercial and social fields, as developed by the Statistical Office and the other departments of the European Commission in cooperation with the coal and steel industries, have proved successful from the point of view of all the parties involved. It has expressed a wish for continuity beyond 2002, mentioning in particular the usefulness for investment decisions of the transparency resulting from information on investment and capacity development programmes while the rules of competition continue to be respected;

1.2. is mindful of the disappearance of the ECSC Treaty, which has been the legal basis defining the Commission's responsibility for making statistical data available and for the collection of those data by the undertakings covered by that Treaty;

1.3. is aware of the need to base the statistical instruments for the coal and steel sectors on the provisions of the Treaty on European Union as from 2002;

1.4. fully supports the desire of the undertakings, their associations and the Member States' Governments to rationalise and simplify the present system for collecting statistics, while assuring the relevance of the data.

2. POINTS CONCERNING COAL

2.1. Statistical data on coal will be needed after 2002. They are essential for analyses of the coal market in the European Union, in particular for the undertakings in the sector. Energy policies, both national and at Union level, also depend on such data;

2.2. coal statistics have undergone successive changes. The present collection system is a rational response to the need for meaningful and comparable data for the European Union's coal and energy market. For the coal sector, coal statistics are valuable in their own right, but they have traditionally been incorporated into energy statistics as well, where they are firmly established;

2.3. this framework also includes the other solid fuels, in particular lignite, peat and biomass;

2.4. hence no substantial change would appear to be necessary as regards the sector for coal, one of the two main products covered by the ECSC Treaty.

3. POINTS CONCERNING STEEL

3.1. The statistics for steel are detailed and have been adapted at regular intervals to keep pace with developments. By this means a high level of transparency has been achieved, leading to an extremely useful instrument providing guidance for economic agents, those involved in politics and the two sides of industry;

3.1.1. it is vital for the above parties to have rapid access to detailed information enabling them to analyse and make decisions with full knowledge of the fact and with future developments in mind;

3.1.2. the undertakings and their workers must be able in the future, as at present, to find their way around in an environment which is rapidly changing in a climate of increasingly intense competition. In the future, flexibility and adaptability will depend more than ever on the quality of the information available and the speed with which it is made available;

3.1.3. the steel industry is subject to enormous fluctuations resulting from economic cycles. If imbalances between supply and demand are to be detected in good time, the industry must be able to rely on detailed data referring to all essential areas;

3.1.4. if a balance is to be maintained in the medium and the long term, data need to be available which provide a timely indication of the risks of overproduction or overcapacity. The restructuring process under way in the CEECs and the other countries of Eastern Europe, where there are virtually no databases on this subject, will require monitoring for many years to come;

3.1.5. the radical overhaul of the steel industries of Europe and of the rest of the world and the trend towards market globalisation will continue. In this context, sound policies require high-quality information;

3.2. the collection of statistical data also represents a substantial workload for undertakings. In return for this effort, the information made available to the authorities and the undertakings must be reliable, timely and complete;

3.3. the steel industry should no longer be seen as confined by the ECSC, but should now include primary processing (forging, tubes, rerolling, drawing, including wire drawing, coating and shaping) (2).

4. CONSEQUENTLY, THE CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT, AS REGARDS THE FUTURE OF STATISTICS IN THE COAL AND STEEL SECTORS, THE FOLLOWING POINTS SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT:

4.1. since the ECSC Treaty has now fewer than five years left to run, a new legal basis derived from the Treaty on European Union must be sought immediately, care being taken to ensure maximum compatibility at international level, in particular with international organisations such as the IEA, the ECE and the OECD;

4.2. the ECSC field needs to be extended to include primary processing and, if possible, other basic industries (such as ferro alloys, foundries) that are frequently faced with problems similar to those of steel, as happened with coal, which was incorporated into energy statistics;

4.3. the collection and processing of data must be organised in the best possible way by agreement between the Statistical Office of the European Communities and the other departments of the European Commission, the national statistical institutes, the professional associations and the undertakings, in order to lighten the workload of both the undertakings and the national authorities and to ensure that the data collected is reliable;

4.4. the instruments retained should provide the transparency which the undertakings require to enable them to take well-founded short-term commercial decisions and long-term decisions on investment strategy. They should also provide the social partners in the sectors involved and the governments with the information they need to implement their social policies. The CEECs should begin straight away gradually to adopt the statistical instruments of the European Union which relate to coal and steel. To this end,

4.4.1. detailed data on activity in the industries concerned should be available as quickly as possible after the end of the census periods. The data should cover the following fields: raw materials, energy, output, employment, orders, deliveries, external trade and stock movements. A system of reasonable provisional figures should, whenever necessary, precede publication of the definitive results to enable market operators to see current situations in terms of economic cycles and to adapt accordingly with full knowledge of the facts;

4.4.2. a body of meaningful information on structural and technological changes, medium and long-term market trends and trends in production capacities must be made available to undertakings to assist them with their long-term investment and development policy decisions;

4.4.3. as regards social aspects, information on employment and the structure of the workforce, including appropriate data on industrial accidents inter alia, should round off the technical instruments.

4.5. The ECSC Consultative Committee calls on the Commission to set about, in consultation with interested parties in the economic and social fields, reorganising the statistical instruments for coal and steel, in line with the principles set out above.

(1) OJ C 206, 11.8.1995, p. 7.

(2) Chapters 27.1, 27.2 and 27.3 of the NACE, corresponding roughly to Chapters 72 and 73 of the Harmonised System for the classification of products.

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