Inappropriate terms used by Eurostat

13.10.2020

Parliamentary question

Authors: Ádám Kósa (PPE), Giorgos Georgiou (GUE/NGL), Alexis Georgoulis (GUE/NGL), Brando Benifei (S&D), Chiara Gemma (NI), Marianne Vind (S&D), Milan Brglez (S&D), Josianne Cutajar (S&D), Ivan Štefanec (PPE), Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew), Atidzhe Alieva-Veli (Renew), Loucas Fourlas (PPE), José Gusmão (GUE/NGL), Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), Isabel Carvalhais (S&D), Dragoș Pîslaru (Renew), Anne-Sophie Pelletier (GUE/NGL), Alex Agius Saliba (S&D), Tanja Fajon (S&D), Rosa Estaràs Ferragut (PPE), Pascal Durand (Renew), Kim Van Sparrentak (Verts/ALE), Jarosław Duda (PPE), Samira Rafaela (Renew), Katrin Langensiepen (Verts/ALE), Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL), Eva Kaili (S&D), Ibán García Del Blanco (S&D), Cindy Franssen (PPE), Benoît Lutgen (PPE), Estrella Durá Ferrandis (S&D), Mónica Silvana González (S&D), Alicia Homs Ginel (S&D), Abir Al-Sahlani (Renew), Maria Walsh (PPE), Radka Maxová (Renew)

It has come to our attention that the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community section of the Eurostat Reference and Management of Nomenclatures server contains some terms that are inappropriate.

In section Q, ‘Human health and social work activities’, subsection Q87, ‘Residential care activities’, one of the items is ‘Residential care activities for mental retardation’ and another is ‘Residential care activities for the elderly and disabled’. The latter wording is also found in subsection Q88, ‘Social work activities without accommodation’, which mentions ‘social work activities without accommodation for the elderly and disabled’.

Taking into account the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Commission’s existing policies regarding older people:

1. Does the Commission consider the use of terminology such as ‘mental retardation’, ‘the elderly’ and ‘the disabled’ to be appropriate?

2. Does it plan to ask Eurostat to update these terms to refer more respectfully to persons with intellectual disabilities, older people and persons with disabilities? If so, when?

3. Does the Commission have an editorial policy to reflect a more human-rights-based approach through inclusive language?


Answer by the European Commission

Author: Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner on Economy.

The Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE) is established by Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council. It is based on the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), which is developed by the United Nations Statistical Division. To ensure global comparability of data, NACE is fully consistent with the structure, content, terminology etc. of ISIC. Accordingly, both classifications reflect the terminology that was used when these classifications were released between 2006 and 2008.

Both NACE and ISIC are currently undergoing a review that will result in new versions of these classifications. The review of appropriate terminology in NACE and ISIC forms part of the overall review of the classifications. In this context, the Commission will assess and update the terminology used in NACE, to meet today’s standards and values and ensure appropriate and inclusive language. Eurostat will ensure that the necessary input is provided also to the ISIC review.

The terminology used in the classifications will be chosen and assessed in close collaboration with experts from the EU Member States. Once the first draft version of the new NACE classification is ready, all relevant stakeholders will be consulted in a public online consultation.

In drafting its documents, the Commission is strongly committed to using terminology that is respectful of human rights and ensures inclusiveness.

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