Projects funded by Eurostat: Essnet and Grants

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Istat’s commitment to methodological research aimed at enriching the offer and improving the quality of statistical information emerges from the following list of main projects, active and completed, financed by Eurostat in recent years. In these projects the Institute is involved either as only beneficiary (Eurostat grant) or as a partner in a consortium with other National Statistical Institutes (ESSnet project).

CURRENT PROJECTS

ESSnet One-stop-shop Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Official Statistics

The One-stop Shop Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Official Statistics Project (AIML4OS) is an ESSnet collaborative project involving 16 countries. The overall aim is to develop a ‘One Stop Shop’ for AI and ML in official statistics, providing a single entry point for ESS staff to access a coherent set of capabilities for implementing AI/ML-based solutions. This platform will offer tailored guidance and assistance in deploying AI/ML solutions within appropriate methodological and implementation frameworks. The knowledge and use case experiences developed by the consortium will enable the use of AI/ML to create new statistical products and processes for official statistics.

The planned activities are grouped into thirteen work packages:

The ESSnet AIML4OS is developed through 13 Work Packages (WPs). The first 6 WPs provide support (organizational, communication, IT, methodological, training) for the implementation of the use cases that are developed within WPs 7 to 13.”

WP 1: Project management and coordination
WP 2: Communication and community engagement
WP 3: ESS AI/ML lab: Technical infrastructure and organisational setup
WP 4: AI/ML state-of-play and ecosystem monitoring
WP 5: Standards, methodological and implementation frameworks
WP 6: Knowledge repository and training material
WP 7: Use Case: AI/Ml on earth observation data, satellite imagery
WP 8: Use Case: Statistically valid and efficient editing and imputation in official statistics by AI/ML – with a special focus on editing
WP 9: Use Case: Imputation focus – Statistically valid and efficient editing and imputation in official statistics by AI/ML – with a special focus on imputation
WP 10: Use Case: From text to code – Experiences and potential of the use of AI/ML for classifying and coding
WP 11: Use Case: Applying ML for estimating firm-level supply chain networks
WP 12: Use Case: Large language models
WP 13: Use Case: Generation of synthetic data in official statistics: techniques and applications

Istat contacts: Mauro Bruno, Massimo De Cubellis, Gerarda Grippo, Giuseppina Ruocco, Michela Troia
E- mail: essnet-aiml4os@istat.it
Start date: 04/01/2024
Duration: 48 months

Coordinator (C) and Co-Partners of the project: Ireland (C), Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Holland, Slovenia, Sweden, Poland, Portugal.

For more information:
AIML4OS (https://cros.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/aiml4os) is the page dedicated to the project on the Eurostat Cros – Collaboration in Research and Methodology for Official Statistics portal.

MNO-MINDS

ISTAT is leading the project MNO-MINDS (GA 101132744) co-funded by the European Commission (Eurostat) in the framework of the European Statistical Programme which is part of the Single Market Programme on the topic of Trusted Smart Statistics – Methodological developments based on new data sources. As coordinator, the Institute engages a consortium of nine other European National Statistical Institutes from Austria, Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden and Portugal.

The project fits into the framework of the Trusted Smart Statistics Strategy and Roadmap adopted in 2019, by implementing the Bucharest memorandum on official statistics in a datafied society and moves its steps drawing on all the previous experiences on big data in the ESS.

Its objective is to propose new methodologies for the integration of Mobile Network Operator (MNO) data with other non-MNO data sources for the production of regular official statistics and foresees the production of guidelines and the provision of training courses to prepare the European Statistical System for the use of the new methodologies for such integration.

Started on 1 November 2023, the project MNO-MINDS will end on 31 October 2025. The first official event is the Kick-off meeting organised in Rome on 5 December 2023.

The project activities are structured into four work-packages (WPs):

  • WP1 – coordination, management, dissemination
  • WP2 – landscaping analysis of possible non-MNO data sources to be integrated with MNO data
  • WP3 – development of methodologies and open-source tools for integrating MNO and non-MNO data sources
  • WP4 – proof-of-concept of an ad-hoc survey to improve MNO data

Start date: 01/11/2023

Duration: 24 months

Project coordinator (C) and Co-Partners: Istat Italy (C), STAT Austria, DESTATIS Germany, INE Spain, INSEE France, CBS Netherlands, SSB Norway, INS Romania, SCB Sweden e INE Portugal.

Istat Directorates/Divisions involved:

  • Directorate for Methodology and Statistical Process Design (DCME)
  • Directorate for external relations, international affairs, press office and national statistical system coordination (DCRE) / Division for international affairs (REA)

Istat Coordination Team:
Tiziana Tuoto (tuoto@istat.it) scientific coordination, Maria Grazia Calza (calza@istat.it), Maria Francesca D’Ambrogio (dambrogio@istat.it), Tina Fera (fera@istat.it), Sara Piombo (piombo@istat.it), Laura Tosco (tosco@istat.it), Tamara Zangla (zangla@istat.it)

For any information, contact the Istat Coordination Team of the project at the email address tss-meth-too@istat.it

Social media: on X @TssMethToo_Pj and on LinkedIn @TSS METH TOO ESSnet Project

ESSNet Trusted Smart Statistics – Web Intelligence Network (WIN)

In the last few years, the European Statistical System (ESS) has launched several projects to exploit the potential of new data sources, such as sensor data and web data. The support from Big Data to traditional sources should complement the official statistics, providing more detailed information than the sources currently used.

Starting from the results of the previous actions implemented between 2016-2020 within the ESSnet Big Data I and ESSnet on Big Data II, the project consortium engages 17 organizations from 14 European countries.

The main goal of WIN’s activities is the development of a platform, the Web Intelligence Hub (WIH), which aims at building the technical components and services to gather, process and analyse data from the web for statistical purposes. The software solutions implemented for data gathering and processing will be tested in the context of specific use cases, such as Online Job Advertisements (OJA) and Online Based Enterprise Characteristics (OBEC). More in detail, the project has the following objectives:

  • Build knowledge and expertise in the use of the WIH services within the ESS and beyond
  • Progress in the WIH implementation and integrate OJA and OBEC use cases, to move on to the production stage
  • Explore new data sources and use cases, as well as assess their integration in the WIH
  • Enhance the platform architecture, by developing methodological and quality frameworks for the assessment of statistics resulting from web data.

The planned activities are organized in four work streams:

  • Work package 1: Building the WIN across ESS and beyond
  • Work package 2: Advancement of the WIH, and moving OJA and OBEC use cases into statistical production stage
  • Work package 3: Exploration of new data sources and use cases to extend the WIH
  • Work package 4: Development of methodological and quality foundations to produce trusted smart statistics through WIH services.

Istat Directorates/Divisions involved:

  • Directorate for social statistics and welfare (DCSW) – Division for integrated system for labour, education and training
  • Directorate for economic statistics (DCSE) – Division for structural statistics on businesses, governmental and non-profit organizations
  • Directorate for methodology and statistical process design (DCME) – Division for integrated architecture of data and processes, Division for process design and register system support.

Istat contacts: Mauro Bruno, Annalisa Lucarelli, Giuseppina Ruocco
Start date: 01/04/2021
Duration: 48 months
Project coordinator (C) and Co-Partners: GUS Poland (C), Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Switzerland.

For more information:
Trusted Smart Statistics – Web Intelligence Network, the Eurostat Cros (Collaboration in Research and Methodology for Official Statistics) portal project overview.

Registers, Micro-data linking and MNEs in business statistics

Grant Agreement ‘Registers, Micro-data linking and MNEs in business statistics’, (Project number 101051569 — 2021-IT-BR-MNE-MDL) co-financed by the Single Market Programme of European Statistics (SMP-ESS-2021-BR-MNE-MDL-IBA), aims at creating an integrated and coherent database on Multinationals (MNEs) through the enhancement of the Micro-Data linking (MDL) and the further development of the activities of the ISTAT LCU (Large cases unit) on the basis of an approach, defined as ‘systematic’ at EU level, able to foster a coordinated and coherent treatment of MNEs data throughout the statistical production chain.

For Istat, this project represents the necessary further step to face the challenges of globalisation. The main steps carry out by ISTAT in the previous years were: the ESBRs (European System of interoperable statistical Business Registers), the Grant Agreement 2015 ‘Steps towards implementing the definition of statistical units for business statistics’; the commitment in Early Warning System (EWS) network and in the European Network of Multinational Enterprise Groups Coordinators (MNEnet).

At European level, the project includes different Work Areas, ISTAT signed for:

  • Support for Large Cases Unit activities in the ESS, module 2.2 Advancement in LCU implementation. Starting from the current activities carried out by the LCU team monitoring the effects of restructuring events concerning the main MNEs operating in Italy, the module aims at favouring a further investment in the activities of the LCU in order to increase the coherence of data on MNEs through their continuous monitoring, deepening the study of their organisational structures and improving the relations on this field among different statistical domains.
  • Capacity building in the field of Micro Data Linking (MDL) based on statistical business registers and Structural Business Statistics, module 3.2: New SBS breakdown using national Business Register and EuroGroups Register information on Group Status; production and transmission of data, that includes the following targets:
    1. Creation of an integrated database on MNEs, through the enhancement of capabilities in the field of Micro Data Linking (MDL), using, EGR, NBR of EG Groups and ENTs and the Frame SBS in order to disseminate to Eurostat new breakdowns: Independent Enterprises, Domestic and Multinational Groups, for three years.
    2. Measure stability by introducing a new system of quality indicators for resident REL and ENT.
    3. Produce Guidelines and best practises on the methodology, imputation method, approximations and confidentiality police, adopted for the creation of the Frame-SBS information system, called Frame-Ent.

Istat Department/Directorate signatory:
DCSE – Directorate for economic statistics

Istat coordinator contact:
Serena Migliardo (migliard@istat.it)

Start date and duration of the project:
01/01/22 (12 months)

Coordinator (C) and Co-Partners:
ISTAT (C)

Data collection for City and Subnational Statistics – Italy

Project Description: The project “Data Collection for City and Subnational Statistics – Italy” (n. 101052274 –  2021-IT-CITY), carried out in the framework of a Grant Agreement between Istat and Eurostat, aims to improve the availability and quality of statistics on European cities. The collaboration between Istat and Eurostat on this issue has been ongoing for over twenty years: the first pilot project, called Urban Audit, was launched by the European Commission in 1999.

The project is co-financed by Istat and by the EC in the framework of the Single Market Programme. It addresses the need to increase the evidence base to support policymakers in defining development interventions and reducing territorial disparities. Investing in knowledge about cities is crucial to achieve the goals of the Urban Agenda and of the cohesion policies of the European Union, as well as Goal 11 of the United Nations SDGs, which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

The concept of city the project refers to was developed by the Oecd and the European Commission and is based on the population grid and on commuting data. The methodology developed (see the Methodological Manual of territorial typologies, Eurostat, 2018) has the aim to overcome a merely administrative concept of city and identifies:

  • City: it is represented by a local administrative unit (LAU), namely a municipality, where the majority of the population lives in a high density cluster (or urban centre) of at least 50.000 inhabitants;
  • Functional Urban Area (FUA): it is formed by a City and its commuting zone;
  • Greater City: it approximates an urban center that stretches out of the administrative boundaries of a City.

The data for City, Greater City and FUA is updated annually by the NSIs participating to the project and is published by Eurostat in the section Cities of the Eurobase.

The database covers different aspects of the quality of life in European cities: demography, health, labour market, education, environment, transport, tourism etc. In the framework of the grant agreement, Istat ensures an annual update of the data and metadata concerning Italian cities.

The main goal of the current Grant Agreement between Istat and Eurostat is to improve the quantity and quality of harmonized city statistics, while contributing to the exploration of new data sources, to the development of new methods and to their dissemination.

The Grant Agreement is organised in five Working Packages (WP):

Work Package 1: Project management. The specific objective of WP1 is to ensure the coordination of all WPs, monitoring the tasks implementation and supporting the staff in reaching their targets. The aim is to guarantee the overall management of the project’s activities in coordination with the European Commission, Eurostat and other Member States.

Work Package 2: Provision of statistics and metadata. WP2 aims at developing the tasks falling under activity 1 of the Call for proposals. The specific objectives regard the preparation (according to the EU standards) and transmission (via E-damis) of data for years 2021 and 2022. The variables released are those listed in Annex A of the Grant Agreement and the reference territory is that of Italian cities, greater cities and FUAs. A further objective is to improve the quality of the metadata that will be updated via the ESS Metadata Handler. New information useful for interpreting the data will be made available on Eurostat’s metadata webpage.

Work Package 3: Pilot study – Accessibility of Italian cities and FUAs. This WP aims at developing new methods and data as envisaged in activity 4 of the Call for proposals. The objective is to develop a methodology for measuring accessibility of Italian cities and FUAs. The issue of accessibility is central to the debate on cities economies and resilience and for supporting cohesion policy.

Work Package 4: Raising awareness and increasing knowledge. The objective of WP4 is to raise awareness, share knowledge and improve the dissemination of city and subnational statistics through the following types of activities: the development of Istat’s website; publications and presentations of printed or electronic material etc.

Work Package 5: Quality of life in European cities survey. The aim of WP5 is to complement the Quality of life in European cities survey, including 20 additional Italian cities that are not included in the Commission’s survey. The survey targets the population aged 15 and older and aims at investigating the perception of the quality of life in cities from the point of view of residents.

For more information, please consult Istat’s webpage dedicated to Cities & Functional urban areas.

FINISHED PROJECTS

Sub-National statistics

The Sub-national Statistics project (formerly known as Urban Audit) is implemented in the framework of a grant agreement between Istat and the European Commission. The first pilot project was launched by the Commission in 1999 and it was followed by several editions. The aim is to promote the city statistics comparability and their dissemination, starting from the development of common understadings and methodologies. The specific objectives of the grant agreement are:

  • the development of a shared methodology with Eurostat and other national stastics institutes;
  • the improvement of the data comparability via the harmonisation of national and European definitions;
  • the production of high quality sub-national data and metadata;
  • increasing the visibility and knowledge of sub-national statistics.

The concept of city the project refers to was developed by the Oecd and the European Commission and is articulated as follows:

  • City: it is represented by a local administrative unit (LAU), namely a municipality, where the majority of the population lives in a high density cluster (or urban centre) of at least 50.000 inhabitants;
  • Functional Urban Area (FUA): it is formed by a City and its commuting zone;
  • Greater City: it approximates a urban centre that stretches out of the administrative boundaries of a City.
  • The data for City, Greater City and FUA are disseminated in a section of Eurostat’s website dedicated to Cities. The database covers different aspects of the quality of life in European cities: demography, health, labour market, education, environment, transport, tourism etc. In the framework of the grant agreement, Istat ensures an annual update of the data and metadata concerning Italian cities.

Directorate:
DIRECTORATE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND TERRITORIAL STATISTICS

Reference contact:
Livia Fay Lucianetti (liviafay.lucianetti@istat.it)

Starting and end date:
02/05/18 (24 months)

Coordinator (C) and Co-Partners:
ISTAT (C)

ESSNet Serv2


Among  the implementation projects, defined in the ESS Vision 2020 programme, Serv2 aims at developing and sharing generic software solutions, currently available in the CSPA catalogue (Common Statistical Production Architecture). This catalogue, resulting from the cooperation between several National Statistical Institutes, was implemented to avoid replication of software solutions in statistical production processes.

The catalogue is  available at:

https://statswiki.unece.org/display/CSPA/CSPA+Global+Artefacts+Catalogue

Each Institute within the European Statistical System (ESS) can access and use the statistical services listed in the catalogue, according to GSBPM (Generic Statistical Business Process Model) standard.

Starting from the outputs of the previous ESSNet SCFE (Sharing Common Functionalities in ESS), the main objectives of the current project are:

  • Development either from scratch or from existing components of new services to support the statistical process.
  • Coordination with other initiatives within the ESS (ie. Task force on shared services, Common Statistical Production Architecture- CSPA members, architecture working group, ESS Enterprise Architecture Task force).
  • Reuse and sharing of open source software solutions.

The planned activities are grouped in the following work packages, related to specific goals, deadlines and deliverables:

  • Work package 1: Develop new services.
  • Work package 2: Define integration and architecture guidelines.
  • Work package 3: Build a sandbox and test available services.
  • Work package 4: Create and communicate success stories.
  • Work package 5: Communication and Dissemination of Results.

The project will last two years and will involve different organizations within the ESS. Each participant will lead one or more work packages.

Istat Department/Division involved:

Directorate for information and communication technologies (DCIT) – Division for design, development and management of applications systems (ITB)

Directorate for methodology and statistical process design (DCME) – Division for integrated architecture of data and processes (MEC)

Istat contact:
Mauro Bruno – Marco Silipo

Start date
01/12/2018

Duration:
24 months

Project coordinator (C) and Co-Partners:
Francia (C), Italia, Norvegia, Portogallo, Svezia

Linked Open Statistics (ESSnet)

The project LOStatistic aims to demonstrate the value of linked open data for the ESS and for users and stakeholders, to deliver sustainable solutions that can be relied on and reused by other institutes and to build a community of practice within the ESS and the international community of official statistical offices.

The specific objectives are to promote proven solutions instead of cutting-edge technology, use open solutions when possible, conform to existing standards in linked data, liaise with external organisations and initiatives.

The work is organized into three work packages. The first WP is on coordination. The second is centred on the main aim to set up a linked data platform in order to run the pilots, develop these pilots to publish Linked Open Data, then work on demonstrating different use cases of the developed pilots and finally provide a set of recommendations.

The third WP is on networking, cooperation and capacity building. The activity deals with the co-ordination of the tasks and dissemination of the outputs of the ESSnet,  setting up a platform for collaborative work among ESS experts on LOD topics, and defining and putting in place a capacity-building strategy.

The final aim of the project is to enhance the efficiency of the European statistical system (ESS), making ESS as a key provider of data for policymaking and for the society as a whole in a digital world.

Istat Department/Division involved:
Department for data collection and development of methods and technologies for the production and dissemination of statistical information (DIRM)

Directorate for methodology and statistical process design (DCME)

Division for methods, quality and metadata (MEA)

Istat contact:
Monica Scannapieco – Carlo Vaccari

Start date:
23/11/2017

Duration:
18 months

Project coordinator (C) and Co-Partners:
BG (C), IT, FR, IE

Please find more information related to this project here:
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cros/content/linked-open-statistics_en

MIMOD (multi-beneficiary Grant)

Istat is leading a European project, on the basis of a Eurostat Grant, to enhance the use of mixed-mode data collection in social surveys.

Given the increasing use of the internet and mobile devices, web surveys on households and individuals are gaining importance both as a single mode as well as in mixed-mode combination and represent a challenge for many National Statistical Institutes. Nowadays, the use of mixed-mode designs and mobile devices is at the forefront of applied research.

The MIMOD – Mixed Mode Designs in Social Surveys – project aims at streamlining the wide literature on the topic as well as collecting experiences and good practices in National Statistical Institutes in order to provide guidelines and suggestions on how to implement mixed-mode designs in social surveys safeguarding output quality.

The Consortium led by Istat (Italy) is made by CBS (Netherlands), SSB (Norway), STAT (Austria) and Destatis (Germany). A network of supporting countries -INSEE (France), Czech Statistical Office (Czech Republic), Central Statistical Office of Poland (Poland), Statistic Finland (Finland) and Statistics Sweden (Sweden) – will provide inputs to the project.

The project comprehends six work-packages (WP):

  • WP1: Investigation of mode organisation (concurrent vs consecutive multi-mode data collection) -WP leader Manuela Murgia, Istat (murgia@istat.it);
  • WP2 Mode bias/mode effects and adjustment for mode-effects – WP leader Orietta Luzi, Istat (luzi@istat.it);
  • WP3 Case management in MMDC and related data logistics – WP leader Marc Plate, Stat, (marc.plate@statistik.gv.at);
  • WP4 Mixed-mode designs (unimode vs. mode-specific questionnaires) – WP leader Dag Gravem, Statistics Norway, (f.gravem@ssb.no);
  • WP5 Challenges for phone and tablet respondents within CAWI – WP leader Barry Schouten, CBS, (bstn@cbs.nl);
  • WP6 Organisation of the meeting and workshop – WP leader and project coordinator Marina Signore, Istat, (signore@istat.it).

Final Report” summarises the outcomes of WP 1-5. It serves as a guide to easily understand the content of the deliverables:

The project started in December 2017 and will end by half 2019. Project results and findings were presented and discussed during the Final Workshop that took place in Rome, in 11-12 April 2019.

Big Data (ESSnet)

Big data: from exploration to exploitation.

ESSnet Big Data is a project within the European statistical system (ESS) jointly undertaken by 22 partners. Its objective is the integration of big data in the regular production of official statistics, through pilots exploring the potential of selected big data sources and building concrete applications.

ESSnet Big Data has started in February 2016 and is to run for 28 months until May 2018; it consists of 10 work packages: eight of these (WP1 to WP8) are content-oriented, while the other two, Coordination (WP0) and Dissemination (WP9), support the overall project.

Istat Department/Division involved:
Department for data collection and development of methods and technologies for the production and dissemination of statistical information (DIRM)

Directorate for methodology and statistical process design (DCME)

Division for methods, quality and metadata (MEA)

Istat contact:
Monica Scannapieco

Start date:
01/02/2016

Duration:
28 months

Project coordinator (C) and Co-Partners:
NL (C), AT, BE, BG, DE, DK, EE, EL, ES, FI, FR, FR, FR, IE, IT, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, UK

Please find more information related to this project here:
https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/mwikis/essnetbigdata/index.php/ESSnet_Big_Data

The European System of interoperable Business Registers (ESSnet)

ESBRs is a ESS Vision Infrastructure Business Project (ESS.VIP.BUS.ESBRs) aiming at building a mutually beneficial European system of interoperable statistical business registers, which shall be a reliable and efficient backbone for the production of high quality business statistics in Europe.

The ESBRs project has the following goals:

  1. Strengthen and rationalise national SBRs
  • Integration into an interoperable system
  • Serving national and EU statistical production
  1. Efficiency and quality gains for the whole system
  • Improve the EuroGroups Register (heart of the system)
  • Improved quality of information on multinationals
  • NSIs on-line access, facilitating interaction with EGR
  • Dedicated interfaces for FATS and FDI statisticians
  1. Integration of profiling information into the EGR
  • Share statistical services
  • NSI access shared services for register management
  • Services certified by Eurostat against ESS standards

In order to achieve these objectives and goals, the ESSnet ESBRs shall target:

  • A business architecture for the ESBRs
  • An interoperability framework for the ESBRs
  • An overall process development and a common data quality program for the ESBRs
  • The sharing of relevant statistical services in the ESBRs

Istat Department/Division involved:
Department for statistical production  (DIPS)

Directorate for economic statistics (DCSE)

Division for statistical registers on economic units (SEA)

Istat contact:
Caterina Viviano

Start date:
01/05/2014

Final date:
31 October 2018.

Project Coordinator (C) and Co-Partners:
AT (C), NL, FR, DE, FI, IT, PT, SE, UK, CH

Quality of Multisource Statistics (ESSnet)

The ESSnet on quality of mutisource statistics is one of the instruments implementing the ESS.VIP ADMIN (Administrative data sources). It has to fulfil the following objectives within the four year period:

  • Take stock of the existing knowledge on quality assessment and reporting and review it critically in order to produce recommendations on the most suitable approaches;
  • Develop new indicators for the quality of the output based on multiple sources;
  • Produce a methodological framework for reporting on the quality of output;
  • Produce indicators relating to the quality of frames themselves and the data whose production is supported by frames;
  • Produce a methodological framework for assessing the quality of the frames used in social statistics; draft a proposal for minimum quality requirements for sampling frames for EU social statistics;
  • Produce recommendations on updating the ESS Standard and the ESS Handbook for Quality Reports.

Istat Department/Division involved:
Department for data collection and development of methods and technologies for the production and dissemination of statistical information (DIRM)

Directorate for methodology and statistical process design (DCME)

Division for integrated architecture of data and processes (MEC)

Istat contact:
Giovanna Brancato

Start date:
04/08/2015

Duration:
48 months

Project coordinator (C) and Co-Partners:
DK (C), N(C), NL, AT, IE, HU, LT, IT

For more details on each project in the list consult the following link:
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cros/content/finished-projects_en