Ex-stats chief case a source of fric­tion with EU

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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