Slovenian cooperation with the OECD in the field of statistics:
past experiences and future challenges
1. In September 2006 the OECD started the procedure for identifying potential candidates for
membership of the OECD. The precondition for the invitation to join the OECD convention was the
fulfilment of the three basic criteria: open economy, democratic pluralism and respect for human
rights, while the key criteria for membership are determined in OECD's Strategy for Enlargement and
Outreach: like-minded, significant player, mutual benefit and global considerations. In May 2007,
OECD countries agreed to invite Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia and Slovenia to open discussions for
membership of the Organisation and offered enhanced engagement, with a view to possible
membership, to Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. The adoption of the Accession
Roadmap on 30 November 2007 determined the areas and scope of the negotiation process.
2. The Government of Slovenia appointed Minister Dr. Žiga Turk, Head of the Government
Office for Growth, as a national coordinator and a chief negotiator for Slovenia’s accession to the
OECD and established a special organizational structure including all relevant ministries and
government offices that are going to take part in the accession process.
3. Slovenia is already actively involved in the work of OECD bodies as an observer in the
Committee on Statistics, the Steel Committee, the Public Governance Committee, the Competition
Committee, the Chemical Committee, the Environment Policy Committee, the Education Policy
Committee, the Committee on Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and several subsidiary
working parties and expert groups within the committees mentioned and other committees.
2. Cooperation between Slovenia and the OECD in the field of statistics
4. Slovenia received an invitation to participate in the OECD Committee on Statistics as an
observer in 2006. Director-General of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS)
attended both, the 2006 and 2007 CSTAT meetings. The participation in this Committee is of outmost
importance for Slovene national statistics as it enables the active involvement in the work of the
Committee, in the preparation of strategic methodological documents and standards in the field of
statistics and valuable exchange of knowledge and experiences.
5. Cooperation between Slovenia and the OECD in the field of statistics in the past years has
been extensive and fruitful. Cooperation has taken place in parallel through observership in the
OECD Committee on Statistics, active cooperation in the OECD projects, preparation of statistical
data and metada for the OECD dissemination and participation in different meetings and workshops.
Slovenia also felt an obligation to expand the knowledge gained as a result of this cooperation also to
other countries, in particular to Western Balkan Countries. Beside the activities mentioned bellow
where Slovenia has played a leading role in the region in the statistical projects. Slovenia actively
participates in several other technical assistance and institutional buildings projects (so called
twinning projects) in the field of statistics in Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and
Montenegro. Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia considers it very important to transmit the
knowledge and experiences and has hosted also number of study visits and offered assistance to
different countries like Serbia, Turkey, Albania, Lithuania, Kosovo, Ukraine and others. We are
firmly convinced that close cooperation with the OECD had a significant impact on our work and
fostered improvement in different fields of statistics in Slovenia.
2.1 Active participation of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS) and
Bank of Slovenia in the OECD projects
2.1.1 Price statistics
6. Prosperous cooperation between SORS and the OECD was and still is taking place in
different areas of price statistics. In the field of prices the OECD, besides Eurostat, is one of the
leading institutions and generators of development at international level. Through organisation of
seminars and meetings, directing the projects, preparation of documents and manuals and other
activities the OECD successfully spreads its vision and knowledge among countries.
7. The cooperation with the OECD has been the most extensive and fruitful in the case of
international price comparison and PPP:
Pilot project Purchasing Power Parities for Western Balkan Countries (WBC): the objective
of the project was to include the WBCs in the 2005 round of the ECP and to familiarise their
statistical agencies with the methodological and organisational framework used for
international comparisons of GDP within the EU and to develop their capacity to participate
regularly in future rounds of the ECP. For this purpose, the WBCs constitute an independent
subgroup of the Central Group. The link between two groups was provided by Slovenia – or,
more precisely, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia – which participated in both
groups and was the group leader of the Western Balkan Group. The pilot project was funded
primarily by Eurostat and the regional CARDS programme. Technical oversight was
provided by the OECD.
2004-2007 ICP – Ring Comparison: The International Comparison Program (ICP) is a global
statistical initiative involving national, regional and international agencies. The aim of the
ICP is to produce world-wide comparable price levels, expenditure values and Purchasing
Power Parity (PPP). To generate global PPPs expressed in a common currency, the regional
PPPs have to be linked. This multilateral ring comparison requires a selected number of
countries from each region to participate. Slovenia was one of the ring countries the activities
of which were coordinated by the OECD and Eurostat.
Slovenia as the »bridge country« for the inclusion of Croatia and Macedonia in PPP
comparison: Between 2000 and 2004 Slovenia, in cooperation with the OECD, participated in
the inclusion of those two countries in PPP comparison for reference years 1999 and 2002.
SORS played the role of the bridge country with the aim to provide all necessary support and
help to carry out PPP calculation.
8. Important and very useful collaboration was carried out also by Consumer Price Indices
(CPI), Producer Price Indices (PPI) and Services Producer Price Indices (SPPI). For these three areas
the OECD in cooperation with other institutions and experts prepared manuals (»Consumer Price
Index Manual, PPI Manual, Methodological Guide for Developing Producer Price Indices for
Services«), which are among the leading documents and guidance for countries concerning prices and
indices. The OECD plays a particularly active role in the case of SPPI.
2.1.2 Education statistics
9. In 2007 Slovenia formally joined the OECD–INES project (Indicators of Educational
Systems), and, as a direct result, data/indicators for Slovenia (from UOE, LFS, etc.) were included for
the first time in the main OECD publication from the field of education: »Education at a Glance-2007
(and in the OECD database). The participation in this project within Slovenia is coordinated by the
Ministry of Education and Sport. SORS formally participates in it (besides with data provision)
through participation in the INES Working Group (before the reorganization of the OECD/INES in
2007 - technical group), which meets regularly twice a year (in spring and in autumn). Participation in
INES gives the opportunity to participate in development, improvement, checking of indicators,
included in EAG, based on the data provided by SORS, and also the opportunity to get acquainted
with other data collections and development work within INES Networks (PISA, PIAAC, etc.). It also
influences the awareness of the importance of the data and their quality and international
comparability at national level and stimulates the cooperation between data providers and data users
(policy makers) in the field of education and training at national level.
10. In autumn 2007 SORS, together with the Ministry of Education, participated in the common
OECD/EC-CRELL (Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning) project on Special Needs Education.
This project has already been running for a few years within the OECD. In 2007 for the first time,
new EU (non OECD) Member States were invited to join. The aim of this project is to build up the
database of comparable data and indicators on the educational provision for students with disabilities,
learning difficulties and disadvantages. The Ministry of Education provided qualitative information
about the system of special needs education in Slovenia and distribution of national categories of
special needs students to international categories. SORS provided the quantitative data, based on its
surveys. The quantitative and qualitative data were sent, via a special questionnaire, to the OECD and
CRELL at the beginning of 2008.
2.1.3 Health accounts
11. In 2006 SORS started analysing data sources for estimating expenditure by disease, age and
gender or hospital health care, services of inpatient rehabilitative care and prescribed medicines. In
2007 the task was extended to out-patient specialised health care. First estimates of this expenditure
for 2005 were prepared. Because we were faced with a number of methodological and data problems,
in co-operation with the Institute of Public Health in 2008 we took part in the OECD project
“Estimating Expenditure by Disease, Age and Gender under the System of Health Accounts (SHA)
Framework”. Draft Guidelines for Estimating Expenditure by Disease, Age and Gender under the
System of Health Accounts (SHA) Framework have been prepared. We are included in a group of
countries in which the feasibility of the Draft Guidelines in terms of health system characteristics and
data availability will be tested and any necessary modifications to the Draft Guidelines will be
assessed. Guidelines for estimating expenditure by age and gender groups, and disease categories will
be prepared, which will also serve as an input for the SHA revision. We expect that within the
mentioned project we will also be able to solve some other conceptual problems.
2.1.4 Business and consumer tendency surveys
12. SORS joined the project in 1993 and started to conduct business tendency surveys in
manufacturing (Industry Survey) in 1995. In the 1996 it started with Consumer Survey, in 1999 with
Retail Trade Survey and in 2002 Construction and Services Survey. Representatives of SORS
participate each year in the Joint European Commission – OECD Workshop on International
Development of Business and Consumer Tendency Surveys. These workshops enables SORS to
follow all the recent developments in the field of business and consumer surveys, especially in the
field of harmonisation process and other methodology problems. Compared to traditional statistical
surveys, which usually cover only variables on one aspect of an enterprise’s activity, business
tendency survey collect information about a wide range of variables selected. When analysed
together, they give an overall picture of a sector of the economy. The importance of these data has
increased significantly during last years. Economic and financial analysts have become major user of
series derived from business tendency and consumer surveys. This is because the data are available
rapidly and because some of the series provide advance warning of change in aggregate economic
activity. In addition, the survey information focuses on assessments and expectations of the economic
situation by actors on the market. SORS has been using the harmonised questionnaires, methodology
and periodicity from the very beginning; therefore, all data are directly comparable.
2.1.5 Balance of payments, international investment and globalisation indicators
13. Bank of Slovenia is responsible for compilation of statistics: Balance of payments and
international investment position (together with foreign direct investment).
14. Bank of Slovenia cooperates with the OECD on foreign direct investment and trade of goods
and services and participates in "Workshop on International Investment Statistics", which is held
semi-annually. The group is responsible for preparation of fourth edition of methodological manual
on foreign direct investments: "OECD Benchmark Definition on Foreign Direct Investment". This
manual will represent methodological basis for the compilation of country's data on foreign direct
investment (which will be reported to the OECD). This manual is also methodologically in
accordance with "Balance of Payments Manual".
15. In addition to the above mentioned the representatives of the Bank of Slovenia also take part
in OECD/ Eurostat meetings on trade of goods and services: "International Trade Statistics Experts
Meeting " as well as "International Trade Statistics (ITS) and Trade in Services (TIS) Session". The
latter group is together with other international institutions - United Nations, European Commission,
IMF, UNCTAD and WTO responsible for methodological issues of "Manual on Statistics of
International Trade in Services" (which is also closely connected with "Manual on Balance of
16. SORS has studied the OECD Handbook on Economic Globalisation Indicators, which covers
the fields of foreign direct investment, economic activity of multinational enterprises, international
technology and aspects of trade globalisation. Except for direct foreign investment, these fields
intervene with variables that will be monitored with the Regulation on Community Statistics on the
Structure and Activity of Foreign Affiliates (FATS). The difference is that in the OECD Handbook
the mentioned fields are more complex and are monitored by indicators and not by variables. At the
moment we have not yet started with the preparation of globalisation indicators for the OECD.
However, this will undoubtedly be one of the challenges for the future.
2.2 Preparation of statistical data and metadata for the OECD dissemination
17. SORS is strongly convinced that cooperation with the OECD fosters improvement in the field of
dissemination of statistical data. Since the beginning of our cooperation with the OECD our users have
gained the access to Slovene data comparable to data on different OECD economies.
18. The OECD Data and Metadata Reporting and Presentation Handbook contains guidelines and
recommended best practice for the presentation of statistical data and metadata disseminated by national
agencies and international organizations. Sharing ideas, results and vision with the best statistical offices in
the world is of crucial value for small even though fast developing statistical offices such as SORS.
Cooperation with the OECD enables us to level up the quality and internal methodological standards in the
field of general methodology and dissemination.
19. To fulfil SORS’s reporting task to the OECD, we organized ourselves in the way that the
central coordination role in disseminating SORS’s data to the OECD is played by the dissemination
section, namely by its Electronic Dissemination and International Reporting. The OECD data
coordinator works in close cooperation with subject matter specialists and is in charge of reporting
data to the OECD. All OECD data requirements are transparently presented on SORS’s intranet site
with metadata describing data gaps, methodological inconsistencies, owners of data and plans for
improvement. Occasionally the head of dissemination presents the analysis of the situation to the
board of directors. The process was introduced in 2007 when Slovenia was introduced in the OECD
FactBook. Currently we are preparing an OLISnet generic account which will be used by subject
matter specialists and other staff of SORS having their professional tasks connected with OECD
written material or statistical data.
20. SORS will also follow the practice of other countries and organize itself in a way to enable
OECD to obtain the data from SORS website through web services (pull method).
21. So far the provision of data has also been met by so called Joint Questionnaires in the field of
education, environment, energy and structural business statistics which Slovenia has been answering
for many years for different fields of statistics.
22. A pro-active way of thinking with strong focus on users and their continually changing needs
was clearly seen at the last year’s OECD “Statistics, Knowledge and Policy” World Forum, whose
intention to foster the development of sets of key economic, social and environmental indicators and
their use to inform and promote evidence-based decision-making within and across the public, private
and citizen sectors, at sub-national, national and international levels effected in rethinking of SORS’s
dissemination policy and dissemination practices. SORS established itself as an active partner in
providing data and actively participated in the OECD World Forum in Istanbul where the Director-
General of SORS was an invited discussant in the session "Adult Skills and Working Opportunities”.
We also participated in the exhibition “Innovative tools to transform statistics into knowledge”. The
statistics-knowledge-policy chain that was broadly discussed at the Forum will have long lasting
effects on future activities of SORS. We promote the vision of the Istanbul declaration at our website
23. The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia participates in SDMX development and
implementation. We follow the OECD activities in this field with great interest and find the results of
the OECD activities user oriented, useful and applicable. The OECD places the SDMX in the broader
context of statistical data and metadata exchange and gives the comparison with other standards in
use. We find particularly important several OECD initiatives related to SDMX, among them
MetaStore, developed by OECD for reference metadata and SDMX User Guide, but also organisation
of several meetings dedicated to this topic. By attending the OECD events we get the information
about other (also non EU) countries’ experiences and solutions, and about the SDMX activities in
other sponsoring organisations, which helps us set the priorities in SDMX implementation.
2.3 Participation in OECD meetings and workshops
2.3.1 Short-term economic statistics
24. SORS is well aware of the response burden caused by short term statistics data collection
therefore we have already started with wide use of administrative sources (e.g. VAT data).
Representatives of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia attended the meeting of the
OECD Short-term Economic Statistics Working Party in 2007. The topics of the meeting were very
interesting and the meeting documents very informative and useful for our work, in particular, the
presentation of conclusions of task force on practices with administrative data and dynamic web-
based framework. At the 2007 meeting the Manual for an Index of Services Production was
discussed, which will be extremely useful in our future work in this field.
2.3.2 External trade statistics and structural business statistics
25. Participation in annual OECD meetings in the fields of external trade statistics, structural
business statistics and globalisation indicators gave us the opportunity to follow the activities going
on in these fields and provided as with valuable experiences for our further work with the
development of the mentioned statistical areas at national level.
26. We are looking forward to the joint Eurostat/OECD Conference on entrepreneurship
indicators announced for October 2008. We believe that the participation in the conference will
enable us to get acquainted with the expectations of OECD and member countries regarding this
2.3.3 National accounts
27. Representatives of SORS have attended for several years OECD Working Parties on National
Accounts and expert meetings on national accounts and thus got the opportunity to exchange
experiences, share information and practices and discuss in-depth firstly the issues regarding the
implementation of SNA 1993 and afterwards the revision of SNA 1993 and a number of important
specific national accounts subjects. Representatives of SORS actively participated with written
contributions in the Workshop on National Accounts for South East Europe organized by OECD in
2.3.4 Indicators for the information society
28. The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia has been conducting the ICT surveys in
enterprises and households since 2004. At the last OECD meeting on ICT statistics our representative
learnt about the strategic plans in the next few years for different results from the above mentioned
statistics. These plans will probably cause some modifications in SORS ICT surveys. We are also
very interesting in different manuals on ICT statistics and we found out the OECD manuals really
2.3.5 Energy statistics
29. Slovenia actively participates in meetings organized by the OECD/IEA to discuss the content
and methods of reporting the energy data. Participation in those meetings gave us the opportunity to
be aquatinted with changes in questionnaires planned and gave us the opportunity to share the
experiences for further work. Slovenia is also the only OECD non-member country that will
participate in testing of the new on-line reporting system established by the OECD/IEA.
3. Slovenia in the accession process – future challenges
30. Preparation for the assessment of the Slovenian statistical system has been started by SORS
and other authorised producers of official statistics. Our legal and institutional system has been
pointed out as a good practice in the European statistical system, therefore we do not expect much
additional efforts to be required. In the past years a lot of work has been put in the improvement in
quality, data availability and comparability. Some methodological issues, like forecasts, have not yet
been part of the SORS tasks what we consider as a future challenge for us.
31. One of the basic obligations of membership, expressed in Article 3 a) of the Convention, is to
“keep each other informed and furnish the Organisation with the information necessary for the
accomplishment of its tasks”. Therefore, the legal and institutional framework for statistics in
candidate countries and their conformity with the principles applied in OECD countries will be
thoroughly examined and quality of data available and their comparability with data available in
OECD countries will be assessed. In this respect the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia has
already made the necessary organizational measures/arrangements for the provision of relevant data
and related metadata required for a successful accession process proving the full coherence of
Slovenian statistical system to OECD requirements in the field of statistics. In view of the accession
process a special attention has been paid also to the cooperation of ministries and other government
institutions in Slovenia with the relevant OECD Committees.
32. During the accession to the EU and Euro area Slovenia and Slovenian statistical system has
demonstrated great flexibility and successful cooperation and we believe this will be proved again in
the accession process to the OECD.