Ex-stats chief case a source of friction with EU
The case of Greece’s ex-statistics chief who was found guilty of a breach of National Statistic Authority (ELSTAT) regulations duty will be examined by European Union members-states at the next Eurogroup, a European Commission spokeswoman responsible for economic affairs said yesterday.
The charge that Andreas Georgiou, 57, had inflated budget deficit and debt figures for 2009, when Greece’s financial crisis began, was a source of friction between Athens and Brussels, which repeatedly stated its confidence in ELSTAT data.
“What matters is the independence of ELSTAT and that the people that work there are protected based on the law,” Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said yesterday, adding that Brussels was monitoring developments. On Tuesday, an Athens court handed Georgiou a suspended two-year jail sentence for failing to inform ELSTAT’s governing board about the release of the data. For his part, Georgiou told the Financial Times yesterday that he was convicted for enforcing the principle of professional independence and added he would enforce the same principle again today.