17/ 06/ 2015
ANA-MPA -- Greece's deficit figures for 2009 and 2010 were deliberately and artificially inflated and this was at least partly responsible for the imposition of bailouts and austerity programmes on the country, a former vice-president of Greece's statistics authority ELSTAT said on Wednesday.
Testifying before a Parliamentary Investigation Committee on examining and clarifying the conditions under which Greece entered into bailout programmes and the accompanying memorandums, Nikos Logothetis was scathing about ELSTAT President Andreas Georgiou, calling him a "Eurostat pawn" that had converted the statistics service into a "one-man show".
He also accused Georgiou of bending the rules and "using tricks" to bump up the size of the deficit.
"A lot of the criteria were violated in order to include public utilties in the deficits. The deficit was enlarged even more by the one-sided fiscal logic of ELSTAT'S President Andreas Georgiou. It should not have been above 10 pct. The 'alchemy' that was carried out demolished our credibility, drove spreads sky high and we were unable to borrow on the markets. The enlargement of the deficits legitimised the first memorandum and justified the second, for the implementation of odious measures," Logothetis said.
Noting that this was the third time that he was testifying to this effect, Logothetis pointed out that Georgiou's practices had been questioned by himself and other ELSTAT board members (most prominently by Zoi Georganta) but Georgiou had chosen to silence them, so that the deficit figure was released with only his own approval and that of Eurostat.
Logothetis claimed that Georgiou had avoided convening ELSTAT's board, even after Logothetis resigned, because a majority of the board would have questioned his actions. He also insisted that "centres" outside of Greece had played a role and had needed someone on the "inside", suggested that "someone wanted to bring the IMF into Europe".
The former ELSTAT official said he was led to this conclusion by "seeing spreads rise as a result of the statistical figures until we reached a real enlargement of the deficits, violating the until-then not violated Eurostat criteria."