Wednesday, January 13, 2010

EUobserver / EU report slams Greece over false statistics

EUobserver / EU report slams Greece over false statistics:
Written up at the behest of EU finance ministers, the document talks of 'deliberate misreporting of figures by the Greek authorities in 2009.'

Six times the report states "This is to be considered as a case of deliberate misreporting of figures...."

According to the report:

The reliability of Greek government deficit and debt statistics has been the subject of continuous and unique attention for several years. In 2004, Eurostat produced a comprehensive report on the revision of the Greek government deficit and debt figures, showing how the Greek statistical authorities had misreported figures on deficit and debt in the years between 1997 and 2003. On five occasions since 2004 reservations have been expressed by Eurostat on the Greek data in the biannual press release on deficit and debt data. When the Greek EDP data have been published without reservations, this has been the result of Eurostat interventions before or during the notification period in order to correct mistakes or inappropriate recording, with the result of increasing the notified deficit. Other elements of this continuous attention are a high number of visits, including four methodological visits, and an action plan agreed with the Greek authorities, addressing the statistical problems that could be diagnosed by Eurostat. That action plan was regularly reviewed by Eurostat. Though eventually an overall level of completion was achieved, given that Eurostat is restricted to statistical matters in its work the measures foreseen in the action plan were mainly of a methodological nature, and did not address the issues of institutional settings, accountability, responsibility and political interference.The 2004 events led to amendments of the EU legal framework for fiscal data in order to strengthen that framework and to improve the monitoring by the Commission of data provided by Member States in the context of the EDP notifications exercises. The existing legal framework and the governance system for government deficit and debt data at EU level are in general functioning well and produce fiscal data of a generally high quality. It is important to acknowledge the overall efficient and loyal cooperation between national authorities and the Commission that characterises this governance system.

The events which have occurred in Greece, as described in this report, are therefore not considered as systemic and relate to individual, country-specific problems. The most recent revisions are an illustration of the lack of quality of the Greek fiscal statistics (and of Greek macroeconomic statistics in general) and show that the progress in the compilation of fiscal statistics in the country, and the intense scrutiny by Eurostat since 2004, have not sufficed to bring the quality of Greek fiscal data to the level reached by other EU Member States. Even if the existing governance framework for fiscal statistics at EU level functions satisfactorily and enables improvements of a statistical and methodological nature, it cannot prevent deliberate misreporting of data.


  1. You can see the truth behind the Greek statistic by looking at whether they're hiring and firing. Right now they've just fired another bunch of Museum staff- something they're always loathe to do because of their campaign for the return of the Elgin marbles.

    Also noteworthy is how whilst in the US you have parasitic companies (i.e. Goldman Sachs) but in the EU you have whole parasitic countries.

  2. That's just a face-saving effort on the part of the EU - they should never have let them join the Euro zone, after all, in any private Merger & Acquisition there's a true diligence audit by a formerly not involved external auditor. The EU just accepts fabricated numbersas long as they carry a Head of State seal ... but who can print money can also conceive of statistics ... This is my take on the subject of sovereign default: Safe Assets and Sore Surprises. By the way, I have just added a Reference List to my economics blog with economic data series, history, bibliographies etc. for students & researchers. Currently almost 200 meta sources, it will in the next days grow to over a thousand. Check it out and if you miss something, feel free to leave a comment.