Tags: EU | Greece | Financial | Crisis

Greece Taps IMF Official to Head Statistics Agency

Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010 10:16 AM

A senior statistician from the International Monetary Fund has been appointed as the new head of the Greece's embattled statistics agency.

The agency was widely discredited after the new government revealed last year that budget data had been falsified and sharply revised its budget deficit upward. The move was the first step in the country's slide to near-bankruptcy.

Andreas Georgiou, deputy head of the IMF's statistics service and a graduate of Amherst College in the United States, was named to head the agency, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

The previous agency head quit shortly after Prime Minister George Papandreou's Socialists took over from the conservative government in October, and revealed that its predecessors had falsified budget data.

Greece shocked international markets and its European Union partners by then sharply revising its budget deficit estimate from 3.7 percent of gross domestic product in early 2009 to 12.7 percent. That figure was later raised to 13.6 percent of annual output.

EU officials accused Greece of deliberately misreporting its data, while Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said last month that Athens "has cheated with its statistics for years and years."

The Socialists have passed new legislation to make the statistics agency independent of political interference, and tasking it to verify government data instead of simply processing it.

Papandreou pledged Wednesday to persist with painful austerity cuts and broad reforms, which the country committed to pass in order to secure a vital 110 billion euro emergency loan package from the EU and the IMF in May.

"I guarantee that we will never return to the state of financial decline, distorted data ... waste, privileges for the few and unfairness," he told parliament during debate on a new law that will oblige government officials to post all new laws and decisions on the Internet.

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A senior statistician from the International Monetary Fund has been appointed as the new head of the Greece's embattled statistics agency.The agency was widely discredited after the new government revealed last year that budget data had been falsified and sharply revised...
EU,Greece,Financial,Crisis
304
2010-16-30
Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010 10:16 AM
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