Tags: EU | EU | Bulgaria | Finances

EU to Check Bulgaria's Worrisome Deficit Data

Tuesday, 08 Jun 2010 10:54 AM

Bulgaria's public finance statistics are worrisome and should be checked by European Union officials, the bloc's economy commissioner said Tuesday.

Olli Rehn told reporters that he had "some concerns" about the country's figures and wanted to use newly gained auditing powers to investigate any issues.

"We are considering sending a mission shortly," he said.

Bulgaria sharply revised its 2009 budget deficit from 1.9 percent of gross domestic product to 3.7 percent in April, saying it would also put plans to adopt the euro currency on hold.

The sudden change in the deficit — the yearly gap between government spending and revenue — echoes the situation in Greece, which triggered Europe's debt crisis last fall by admitting that it had falsified and misreported statistics to make its debt look smaller.

That shocked markets, which started hiking the cost of borrowing for Greece and insurance against a Greek default — and other EU nations who ultimately agreed a 110 billion euro ($132 billion) bailout for Athens last month to help it make debt repayments.

Bulgaria's three-year membership of the European Union has been rocky.

The EU's executive commission froze almost 500 million euros in aid in 2008, citing corruption, organized crime and spending irregularities.

The funding for farmers, road building and other infrastructure projects was recently unlocked after Prime Minister Boiko Borisov took first steps to uproot corruption.

Borisov blamed the previous socialist-led government for the deficit revision, saying it had kept him in the dark over 2.16 billion leva ($1.49 billion) contracts for arms, telecoms and construction.

European Union governments usually have total charge of the statistics they keep on how much they make and spend — but agreed Tuesday to allow EU officials to audit them when problems arise.

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Bulgaria's public finance statistics are worrisome and should be checked by European Union officials, the bloc's economy commissioner said Tuesday.Olli Rehn told reporters that he had some concerns about the country's figures and wanted to use newly gained auditing powers...
EU,EU,Bulgaria,Finances
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2010-54-08
Tuesday, 08 Jun 2010 10:54 AM
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