(Greece) – According to the European Union, the budget data submitted by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) from 2010-2015 had been approved and validated by Eurostat, the statistics office in the EU. However, the numbers are in the middle of a controversy since that is when Andreas Georgiou, a Greek economist, was president of ELSTAT before he stepped down. He is currently facing felony charges in Greece for inflating budget numbers in Greece in 2009 at the beginning of Greece’s debt crisis. The number that he reported was five times higher than the EU limit, which is what started the debt crisis in the first place.
Marianne Thyssen, the European Commissioner who oversees Eurostat, said that, “Data on Greek government debt during the period 2010-2015 have been fully reliable and accurately reported. We expect the Greek authorities to actively and publicly challenge the false impression that data were manipulated during the 2010-2015 period.”
However, this is a controversial issue throughout Europe because of Georgiou does get convicted of manipulating the data, it could have some consequences. It would mean that Greece manipulated data in 2001 to gain entry into the European Union, and then again in 2010 to receive bailout payments. Despite the controversy, however, the European Commission is adamant that the data was legitimate and accurate.
After Georgiou’s term ended last year as ELSTAT’s chief, the controversy surfaced. It is said that he allegedly inflated Greece’s 2009 deficit figure of 15.6% of the Gross Domestic Product. However, Georgiou has said that this information isn’t what sparked the bailout and that it was information gathered by those who came before him that led to the first bailout in 2010. He also maintains that he produced the statistics according to laws that were set by the European Union. The Greek government said it won’t take a position as to whether or not the 2010 fiscal data was accurate or not.