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New Institutional Cooperation Protocol agreed in the field of General Government Statistics

Given the experience gained and the changes that took place in the national and European institutional framework, a new Institutional Cooperation Protocol was agreed on 27 March 2017 in the field of General Government Statistics, superseding the Institutional Cooperation Agreement in this field signed on 10 January 2006 by the Departamento de Estatísticas Macroeconómicas of the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), the Departamento de Estatística of Banco de Portugal (BdP) and the Direção-Geral do Orçamento (DGO).

In addition to INE, BdP and DGO, 10 other entities signed the new Protocol: Agência de Gestão da Tesouraria e da Dívida Pública (IGCP), Conselho de Finanças Públicas (CFP), Direção-Geral das Autarquias Locais (DGAL), Direção-Geral do Tesouro e Finanças (DGTF), Direção Regional de Estatística da Madeira (DREM), Gabinete de Planeamento, Estratégia, Avaliação e Relações Internacionais do Ministério das Finanças (GPEARI), Inspeção-Geral de Finanças (IGF), Serviço Regional de Estatística dos Açores (SREA), Tribunal de Contas (TdC) and Unidade Técnica de Apoio Orçamental da Assembleia da República (UTAO).

The Protocol aims to promote cooperation among the signatory entities in the field of General Government Statistics, notably as regards the Excessive Deficit Procedure and the European Semester, under the provisions of European Union legislation. Its purpose is to contribute to the high quality of General Government Statistics and the information on budget outturn by developing institutional cooperation mechanisms among the signatory entities, ensuring high standards in terms of the reliability and consistency of the source data and deadlines for its release, in line with best practice in this domain.

The Protocol also aims to contribute to compliance with the reporting requirements within the scope of General Government Statistics resulting from national and international commitments, and to set out more efficient mechanisms for the transmission of source data relevant to General Government Statistics, as well as facilitating the adequate coordination of activity planning with a view to complying with the official statistics’ production calendar. 

The Protocol enshrines autonomy and independence in the decision-making process for statistical compilation purposes and lays down the signatory entities' obligations and rights, according to their respective fields of competence. 

A set of mechanisms for implementation of the Protocol has also been established, namely the setting up of a technical Working Group, called the General Government Statistics Group (Grupo de Estatísticas das Administrações Públicas – GEAP), which has a consultative nature and includes in its restricted composition representatives from the Departamento de Contas Nacionais of the INE, from the Departamento de Estatística of the BdP and from the DGO. The composition of the GEAP may be extended to other signatory entities, depending on the items on the agenda and the scope of the respective competence, for a set of situations described in the Protocol. Participation in GEAP meetings may also be extended to other entities that will be occasionally invited, depending on the issues to be addressed.

The Protocol also lays down that the IGF and the TdC will release to the national statistical authorities, namely in the framework of the Excessive Deficit Procedure notifications, the information which they have obtained and consider relevant to the compilation of statistics. In turn, the statistical authorities will submit to those entities the information they collect for the compilation of statistics and consider relevant to the exercise of those entities' powers and tasks.