Abstract: This paper outlines microdata access methods at the European level,
and specifically to data governed by European Union (EU) Regulation 831/2002 or
where explicit approval of the EU Members is given on the access to particular
datasets via Eurostat safe centre. Access to EU microdata for research purposes
was enabled in 2002 when the Commission Regulation (EC) No 831/2002 came into
force. Since then more than 100 contracts have been signed each year with
research organisations for the provision of microdata for scientific purposes.
The current Regulation foresees two ways of access to microdata: access to
anonymised microdata files, and access to confidential data in the safe centre
in Eurostat premises in Luxembourg. The first part of the paper outlines the
legal framework at the EU level. The second part discusses the different modes
and conditions of access as well as practical issues related to access to
microdata in general. The final part provides an overview of the projects
currently carried out in the domain of remote access at the European level. The situation with regards to the access to EU microdata will evolve in the near
future with the new regulatory framework and subsequent changes in the
governance structure for statistical confidentiality in the European Statistical System.