Greek statistics agency backs effort to restore credibility to national economy

13:43, July 23, 2010      

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Greece seeks to restore credibility in its national economy through a new, independent National Statistics Agency, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said Thursday.

"Besides the latest positive figures on the results of our efforts to slash the budget deficit, Greece restores a credibility deficit. The new National Statistics Agency guarantees that there will be no doubt in the future on the data released by Greek authorities," Papaconstantinou said during a ceremony at the agency's headquarter.

Andreas Georgiou, an International Monetary Fund official, was appointed as the new head of the agency by the parliament, which took control of the organization from the government.

"We face a great responsibility," Georgiou said, "We must act swiftly and overcome this crisis of finances and credibility."

The Greek National Statistics Agency provoked strong reactions in Europe last autumn when it was revealed that the agency consistently released misleading, false figures on the Greek economy.

Under pressure from foreign lenders, the newly elected Greek government pledged to reform the agency.

Greece has been caught in a severe economic crisis since late 2009. The country almost reached bankruptcy this spring before signing an agreement with the European Union and the IMF to receive 110 billion euros (141.35 billion U.S. dollars) over a three-year period in exchange for harsh austerity measures and structural reforms.



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