Eurozone debt crisis putting the poacher in charge of the pheasants

L ondon, United Kingdom (PRWEB UK) 25 May 2012

Sitting on the dusty shelves of the Eurostat library in Luxembourg is an almost forgotten EU report* published in November 2004. This report charts the frustrated efforts of EU statisticians over an eight-year period to pursuade the Greek government to provide honest and accurate statistics

The first time that the European Unions statistical authorities raised questions about Greeces debt assumptions was during meetings on February 8th and 9th 1996. After these meetings the Director-General of Eurostat wrote to his counterpart in Greeces National Statistical Service to point out inconsistencies in the interpretation of capital transfers as a counterpart to various items of debt assumptions and stating that Eurostat could not agree with the exclusion of the counterpart transaction from the net borrowing requirement of the General Government Sector.

At this point a pattern emerged – with the Greek statistical service appearing to agree to comply with EU requirements, but subsequently distorting its figures. This led in 1997 to an EU instruction that these corrections should be done immediately. After which the EU officials noted that In spite of this conclusion, Greece did not revise its figures and did not transmit a revised notification.

By November 2000, when Greeces entry to the eurozone was to be considered against the entry criteria, it would have been well known by EU officials and national politicians that its statistics particularly on government debt – could not be trusted. Later it was found by Eurostat that the deficits for 2000 to 2003 all had to be substantially revised upwards.

So what steps are now being taken to investigate this catalogue of errors and past economic mismanagement? Unfortunately, according to the Secretary-General of the Federation of European Employers (FedEE), Robin Chater Although politicians are quick to point the finger at corporate misdoings they are strangely silent when it is politician themselves – and their officials – that are in error. With the Greek economy in tatters and with EUR 240bn already committed to its bailout programme why is no-one being held to account for Greeces admission to the eurozone in the first place?

With 13 of the eurozones 17 countries expected by the EU to miss their deficit target next year perhaps the wisdom of the entire single currency experiment must be put into question and for that there are two people clearly most accountable – Jacques Delors, who in 1988 chaired a committee which proposed a plan to reach full economic and monetary union. and his subsequently disgraced successor Jacques Santer who ironically heads up the Special Purpose Investment Vehicle – formed by the EUs European Financial Stability Facility to fund the future bailouts of ailing eurozone countries. Another case of putting the poacher in charge of the pheasants


Report by Eurostat on the revision of the Greek government deficit and debt figures. 22 November 2004. 69pp

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