The main responsibility of Eurostat is to provide reliable and comparable statistical information to the institutions of the European Union (EU). An important instrument to achieve this is through the promotion of – as far as possible – harmonised statistical methods across its member states.
Within this view the European Statistical System (ESS) is gradually being built up. Whereas Member States are responsible for the collection of the data and the compiling of the statistics for National and EU knowledge building, it is the role of Eurostat to support the ESS to grow towards a network that strives to search to harmonised procedures. Two important data collection methods within the ESS are time-use surveys (TUS) and Household Budget Surveys (HBS). Today both TUS and HBS are collected on the basis of a gentlemen’s agreement between the participating country and Eurostat.
TUS are used to get insights in people’s daily activities and how these activities are embedded in temporal, social and spatial contexts. TUS is harmonised via the Harmonised European Time Use Survey (HETUS) guidelines. Today two waves have been organised and a third started from 2020. The third wave came with the third updated version of the guidelines which are published in 2019. In 2030 TUS will enter the Integrated European Social Statistics IESS agreement on an optional level.
HBS collects what households consume on goods and services in large detail. In this way, the survey gives a picture of the living conditions in the EU. There is a strong continuous effort towards more comparability and output-harmonisation in HBS, but there still are important differences in terms of frequency, timing, content or structure. HBS is performed by each Member State to calculate weighted macroeconomic indicators used for national accounts and consumer price indices. Eurostat publishes output since 1988 and this with intervals of 5 years. The last waves are from 2010 and 2015. In 2026 HBS will enter the Integrated European Social Statistics (IESS) agreement.