EU regards Greek budget figures as unreliable

18:35, January 13, 2010      

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The budget figures submitted by the Greek government to the European Union (EU) was "unreliable," and might have been deliberately misreported to play down its budget crisis, according to EU's statistics bureau Eurostat.

Eurostat said on Tuesday that the Greek statistic office NSSG had complained of political interference in its budget report. The Greek finance ministry, which controls the NSSG, has blamed the last conservative government for the misreporting and pledged to ensure the independence of NSSG in the future.

Greece's public deficit is tipped to reach 12.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009, far above the EU's accepted ceiling of 3 percent.

Olli Rehn, the designated commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said on Monday that the Greek government should put forward in the next few weeks "a comprehensive package of policy measures to correct the situation."

However, the ballooning budget deficit and public debt is not a problem confined to Greece. Between 2008 and 2009, due to the impact of worldwide economic crisis, average EU public deficit has risen from less than 3 percent to close to 7 percent of GDP, while debt increased from 65 percent to 85 percent of GDP, according to Rehn.

Source: Xinhua
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