Remember the Greek Statistics scandal where deficit was trimmed down? Allegedly there is a new scandal with Statistics when the deficit went … up, should we believe Zoi Georganta, board member of the Greek Statistics Authority (ELSTAT). Georganta and some other board members were sacked on Thursday by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos because they could not cooperate with the president of the ELSTAT.
Zoi Georganta, professor for Econometrics at the University of Macedonia, spoke to several Greek media on Friday and claimed that Greece’s budget deficit underwent a upward revision in 2009 to 15.4% instead of 12.6% just to force Greece to take the harsh austerity measures.
The upward revision of Greece’s budget deficit in 2009 to 15.4 percent of gross domestic product exposed the scale of the country’s fiscal derailment and sped up the debt crisis which is still rocking the euro zone.
“The 2009 deficit was artificially inflated to show that the country had the biggest fiscal shortfall in all of Europe, even higher than Ireland’s which was 14 percent,” ELSTAT board member Zoe Georganta was quoted as saying by the Eleftherotypia newspaper.
Georganta said the inclusion of a number of utilities under the general government inflated the deficit. She said this had not been handled according to Eurostat guidelines and that the chairman rejected the board’s objections.
“We have a new kind of occupation in Europe by the Germans,” Georganta told Real FM radio, adding that German officials at Eurostat put pressure on the government to inflate the 2009 deficit to justify harsh austerity measures. (Reuters)
Prompt was the answer of George Papaconstantinou, Greek FinMin until summer 2011, who said in a written statement:
“Unfortunately for all, Greece’s budget deficit for 2009 was 15.4% of the GDP, as The EUROSTAT and the ELSTAT had officially announced. Let’s understand the harsh situation of the country instead of searching cheap and easy justification of the conspiracy theory kind. As fas as it concerns Gerorganta’s statements, her phrase “We are under German occupation” says all.”
I don’t consider this explanation as full – because Papaconstantinou most probably wore his anti-conspiracy theories Tin Foil Hat when he was writting it.
I’m sure the claims and blames will have a Part Two.
PS What was the name of the other professor who was sacked by the budget commission of the Greek Parliament?