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Country Profile of Belgium

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Institut National de Statistique (INS)
Web address
www.statbel.fgov.be
Position in the government
The I.N.S. is a department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. It comes under the responsibility of the Minister of Economic Affairs, who approves the I.N.S. budget. The Act of 1994 had effectively changed the status of the I.N.S. to a "National service under the separate management", which within its responsibility, can retain revenues and subventions for investments in order to improve the quality of the statistics. Publication of statistical results is decided by the I.N.S. after consultation with the High Council of Statistics. In special cases, authorisation is requested from the Minister.

The national administrations, the various regional and communal executive organs, the provincial and municipal administrations as well as their subsidiary organs of public interest have to notify the I.N.S. of any decision to treat statistically the data in their possession. One copy of each of their statistical publications has to be deposited with the I.N.S. The Minister of Economic Affairs is entitled to recommend the use of standardised statistical methods to any administration and service with a view to co-ordinating statistical activities. He may also invite such administrations and services to produce statistics on the basis of the information which they hold.
Organizational structure and finance
The INS is organized into two departments, Statistics and Information and Communication. INS has financial resources of around 30 million per year.
Multi-annual or annual work program
The working plan is prepared in collaboration with representatives of the regions within a working group of the High Council of Statistics.
Main duties
* to carry out major periodical censuses;

* to compile state statistics;

* to centralise the publication of results;

* to study, from scientific and technical points of view, the statistics compiled by institutions other than the I.N.S.


Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
As early as 1831 a Bureau of General Statistics was created within the Department of the Interior. In 1841, a Central Commission of Statistics was formed, since 1946 called High Council of Statistics. In 1932, the name of the statistical bureau was changed into Central Office of Statistics. Further centralisation was achieved after 1939. The office was transferred to the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 1940, and its name changed again in 1946 into National Institute of Statistics (Institut National de Statistique/Nationaal Instituut voor de Statistiek).

Since 1977, the Institute opened 5 bureaux in different parts of the country, to bring statistics closer to the users. Each bureau has its own documentation and information service.

In 1994 the Government of Belgium carried out a reform of the statistical and economic projections system by creating the National Accounts Institute (Institut des Comptes Nationaux - I.C.N). The Institute was placed under the authority of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and given the task of setting up the national accounts, and working on statistics of foreign trade (which until that moment was under the authority of the National Institute of Statistics - NIS) and economic projections. The I.C.N. is managed jointly by the National Bank, National Institute of Statistics and the Planning Bureau. The I.N.S. continued to supply the data bases necessary for the work of the I.C.N., and preserves its co-ordinating role at the level of the official statistics, given by the legislation.

This reform was carried out with a view of improving the economic statistics and allowing the I.N.S. to free resources in order to accomplish an internal restructuring which became necessary.


Legal basis
Legal basis
Legal basis: Royal Decree of 1939; Acts on public statistics, 1962, 1985; The Act on social and other regulations, 1994.

The Statistics Act has been the subject of further adjustments on 2 January 2001 for the census socio-economic 1 October 2001, the last census by the traditional method. In 2006, the new statistical law in Belgium came into effect. This law, dated 22 March 2006 and was published in the Official Gazette on 21 April 2006, is the functioning of the Directorate-general Statistics and Economic Information of the Federal Public Service Economy in tune with the latest developments in the protection of life private, administrative simplification and sharing data for scientific research. In this way, DG SIA will be able to complete, modern and efficient, its function as a linchpin of the statistical activity of federal Belgium.


Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
Name: National Accounts Institute (I.C.N.)

Composition: The administrative board is composed of seven members, four of which are appointed by the law and three remaining by the King:

* the Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs;

* the Governor of the National Bank;

* the Commissioner of the Planning Bureau;

* the Director General of the National Institute of Statistics;

* three members representing the National institute of Statistics, the National Bank and the Planning Bureau.

Functions:

* to ensure the legal responsibility of national accounts and foreign trade statistics produced by competent authorities of the other associated institutions (National Bank, I.N.S. and Planning Bureau).


Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
Name: High Council of Statistics.

Composition: Members are appointed by the King upon proposal by the Minister of Economic Affairs. They include:

* outstanding statistical experts;

* representatives of agricultural, industrial, commercial, financial and labour organisations;

* the Director General of the I.N.S.;

* staff members of the I.N.S.;

* representatives of autonomous Regions and Communities, Chairman and Vice - Chairman who are appointed by these authorities.

Functions:

* advising the I.N.S. on methods of research;

* advising the King in the fields of regulations and obligations governing statistical work as well as the periodicity of statistics.


Data collection
Most recent population census
1 October 2001
Access to administrative data
For example: tax data, data on social security, national register.
Data confidentiality
A number of international acts, a European directive, an agreement of the Council of Europe in the future a recommendation of the Council of Europe on the statistical framework of the internationally National Statistical Institute provide enhanced protections regarding privacy and confidentiality.


Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
The Publications Catalog is located on the website, with a list of the large number of statistical publications, single or as part of a series of weekly, monthly or annual publications.
Main publications
The publications of INS revolve around 7 thematic areas: Land and environment People, Society, Economics and Finance, Agriculture and Related Activities, Industry, Services, trade and transport. See website for complete list of publications.

Languages of main publications
As to publications, Dutch and French remain the only available languages until further notice. Some publications on the website are in English.
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
Paper, Website
Availability of microdata for research purposes
Agreement between the minister responsible for statistics and the researchers.




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