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Second meeting of the Council Working Party on Statistics under the Lithuanian Presidency

he second meeting of the Council Working Party on Statistics under the Lithuanian Presidency was held in Brussels on Friday, 13 September 2013. 

The 1st issue on the meeting agenda was the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EU) No 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts and examination of the Presidency compromise proposal. The CWPS continued examination of the dossier. Discussions basically concentrated on procedure of adopting the lists of Environmental goods and services and Energy products to be used for the purpose of Annexes V and VI (Member States supported the Implementing acts approach), aggregation level for data reporting and division of ‘consumption' activities for private households' final consumption (Annex VI, Section 5, point 3)). Finalisation of examination starting from Annex VI, Section 5, point 5 and moving to Recitals and remaining open issues is expected at the CWPS meeting in October.  

The 2nd item on the agenda was the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 99/2013 on the European statistical programme 2013-17. Presidency presented the outcome of the written hearing. As the majority of delegations supported the original Commission Proposal, the Presidency is seeking approval of the Coreper II in October to form the basis for starting negotiations with EP. 

The afternoon session started with the 3rd item on the agenda – the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council the provision and quality of statistics for the macroeconomic imbalances procedure (MIP). Following the Presidency's introduction of the hearing results and the Commission's introduction of the dossier, at the 13 September CWPS general exchange of views was started and finished. Having the summary of responses the Presidency has to state that the majority of the MS support the intentions of the Proposal; however, a number of MS consider other effective ways to achieve this objective exist. A Note is expected from the Commission in reply to MS questions and the written opinion on legality of certain aspects is expected by the Council Legal Service by the next CWPS due 10 October 2013. 

Under AOB, the first information was provided on the outcome of the Coreper I on 6 September on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending certain legislative acts in the domain of agricultural and fishery statistics (Omnibus I). The Coreper I approved the modified compromise package for the Omnibus I proposal and authorised its Chair to write to the Chair of the European Parliament's AGRI Committee to secure a first-reading agreement on that basis. The text will undergo legal/linguistic finalisation in all official languages, with a view to the adoption of the EP's first-reading opinion in plenary in November. Publication in the Official Journal should take place early in 2014. 

The 2nd issue under AOB was information on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European statistics on demography. On 11 September Coreper II approved the modified compromise package and the offer letter signed by the Coreper Chair was sent to the Chair of the EP's EMPL Committee. The vote of EP EMPL is scheduled 18 September 2013. Currently the text is undergoing legal/linguistic finalisation in all official languages and MS are invited to send their comments by 26 September. An Experts' meeting is to be held on 4 October. The EP plenary will vote in its 2nd session on 22 October 2013. Publication in the Official Journal is foreseen in late 2013 or early 2014. 

The 3rd issue under the AOB was information on the status of the Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics. On 25 July 2013 Member States were informed about the outcome of joint hearing (written consultation) and further steps to be taken. Also the hearing for indication of critical Articles in the current compromise text which are red lines for Member States was launched with the deadline of 2 September, to which by 12 September 2 MS have not responded. 

In analysing the responses, the Presidency takes the view that any consideration should be based on the mandate agreed by COREPER on 10 of April 2013 (doc. 8034/13 of 27 March 2013), a view that was stressed by a large number of delegations. The opinions expressed by MS on red lines and possible changes appeared to be very controversial.  

Going forward, the Presidency would like to examine the responses received to the written consultations more carefully in order to provide a written report of the hearing, as has become habitual for the CWPS, in advance of the October meeting. The Council Legal Service is expected to provide the legal opinion on article 6a by the beginning of October at the latest. Currently Lithuanian Presidency is in the process to gauge the Parliament's willingness to reconsider the earlier agreement in order to reach an agreement in the first reading.

The next CWPS meeting is scheduled for 10 October 2013. 

The progress on different legislative dossiers is published online (eu2013.stat.gov.lt).