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Slovak Presidency in V4 in the field of statistics
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Slovak Presidency in V4 in the field of statistics

Last update: 20.04.2023

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The Visegrád Group (V4) is an informal grouping of 4 Central European countries that brings together not only the countries with geographical proximity, but also with membership in the EU, NATO and many international organizations, with similar economic conditions, cultural and historical values. The V4 grouping was established after political changes and the collapse of the socialist bloc in February 1991, when the highest representatives of the original three members – Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary – signed the Visegrád Declaration in Visegrad, Hungary; it laid the foundations for future close cooperation in different areas of common interest. After the breakup of the CSFR in 1993, the regional cooperation of Hungary and Poland continued with the emerging countries – Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and is realized even in this period, when the V4 is chaired by the Slovak Republic.

The presidencies in V4 rotates on annual basis according to the following schedule:

  • 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023 Slovak Republic
  • 1 July 2023 – 30 June 2024 Czech Republic
  • 1 July 2024 – 30 June 2025 Republic of Poland
  • 1 July 2025 – 30 June 30 2026 Republic of Hungary

The currently ongoing presidency of Slovakia is his sixth presidency in the V4. The central coordinating body is the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and the national Visegrád coordinators. The basis of the activities is a programme of the presiding country, which is approved by the heads of government of the V4 countries at the V4 summits, the priorities and forms of cooperation for individual areas are developed in ministerial (departmental) cooperation plans. Financial support for planned activities can be requested from the International Visegrád Fund which has been the only institutionalized form of mutual cooperation between the V4 countries since 1999. The fund supports projects in the fields of culture, education and capacity building, innovation and social development.

Programme of the Slovak presidency in V4 in Slovak (PDF – 170 kB)

Programme of the Slovak presidency in V4 in English (PDF – 152 kB)

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Slovak Presidency in V4 in the field of statistics

Activities of the Slovak presidency in the V4 in the field of statistics were approved at the meeting of the heads of the V4 statistical offices which took place at the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic on 29 November 2022.

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Picture: Heads of V4 statistical offices: Marek Rojíček (first from left) - Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), Peter Peťko - Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, Dominik Rozkrut - Statistical Office of Poland (GUS) and Gabriella Vukovich - Statistical Office of Hungary (KSH).

The partnership between the V4 statistical offices will mainly focus on sharing information about the procedures and methodologies used, or a wider exchange of data and setting up of an effective cooperation even after the end of the Slovak presidency.

Cooperation will focus on important statistical topics, such as the modernization of price statistics and new challenges after the end of the 2021 Census of Population and Housing. The SOSR also plans to organize a workshop on the topic of using geospatial information for the compilation of official statistics. The SOSR will present important national indicators related to current overall societal challenges in a joint V4 publication, this time dedicated to inflation.

Other information can be found on website of Visegrád group or on twitter @V4_PRES.

Experts on statistics from the V4 countries shared their experiences with new data sources and their processing methods in Bratislava

Quick changes in consumer behavior and the constant effort to improve the quality of statistical production also accelerate the development of new approaches to collecting and processing of data on consumer prices. Experiences with new methods of data downloading from the online space, from scanners of retail chains or from other sources were the main topics of the international workshop organized by the Statistical Office of the SR in Bratislava in March.

The global pandemic affected a consumer behavior and strengthened a share of retail in the online space. Slovakia, nor the V4 countries, are no exception. Just for an example, the volume of online purchases in Slovakia reached EUR 1.8 billion last year. The share of electronic commerce reached approximately 12 percentage of the total volume of retail trade.

Experts on statistics from the V4 countries therefore exchanged experiences with new trends in data collection and processing in the Workshop on the Modernization of Consumer Price Statistics in Bratislava. A core attention was paid to experiences with the method known as web scraping, that is automated data downloading from relevant websites. The Statistical Office of the SR examines the method within the project on Dynamic Price Model and has also recently concluded cooperation with the largest purchasing consultant and price comparator - Heureka.

"With the growing trend of purchases via Internet, the importance of these data will also grow, they will also be usable for other fields of statistics than price statistics, while our ambition is to cooperate with other web portals as well," declared Peter Knížat, an expert of the Statistical Office of the SR, at the workshop.

Péter Quittner, an expert from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, also presented his experiences in this field. Within the project, the Hungarian colleagues collected, for example, data on the prices of used cars, data on sales at petrol filling stations, and data on the prices of holiday accommodation.

"I see a great similarity between the approaches of our Hungarian colleagues and the solutions we deal with in our office. We put emphasis on the use of artificial intelligence in the classification of products, on the analysis and interpretation of the outputs collected," said Peter Mižik on behalf of the Statistical Office of the SR.

The second key topic of the workshop was cooperation with retail chains in data downloading, the so-called scanner data. As it was stated in the presentations of the SOSO as well as colleagues from the Czech Statistical Office, the use of transaction data of retail chains is a trend that we can also observe in our region.

The use of these data will enable a significant saving of personal costs by eliminating their collection in the field and at the same time will significantly improve the quality of the data base for the consumer price index calculation.

However, the presentation of Jaroslav Sixta, the Vice President of the Czech Statistical Office, pointed out that, on the other hand, the methods for their processing require more complex software and employees with higher qualifications.

Experts from the Statistics Poland presented their view on the calculation of price indices. A big added value was an introduction of libraries in the R programming language for calculating of multilateral indices in the presentation of Jacek Bialek. The use of multilateral indices is a huge challenge for innovations in statistics, mostly in terms of the number of different possibilities of use and interpretation.

According to the participating experts, the international workshop started further and more intensive cooperation between the statistical offices of the V4 countries. They often deal with common challenges and have similar goals.

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Picture: Participants of the Workshop on the Modernization of Consumer Price Statistics.

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Picture: Picture: Participants of the Workshop on the Modernization of Consumer Price Statistics.

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Picture: Jacek Bialek (first from left) – Statistics Poland (GUS), Jaroslav Sixta - Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), Peter Peťko - Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, Péter Quittner – Hungarian Statistical Office (KSH).

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