“Greece will miss today’s European Commission deadline for reporting revised budget deficit figures for the past two decades, preserving a mystery about the degree to which Athens fudged official statistics in order to join the euro,” reads a recent Financial Times report.
“ELSTAT, Greece’s independent statistics agency, requested data from the finance ministry in February in order to prepare the submission for Brussels covering the period from 1995 to 2013. But it only received the first batch earlier this month amid delays at the ministry,” the report continues.
“The term “Greek statistics” has become synonymous with deception after Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, accused Athens in a 2010 report of repeatedly misreporting figures on national output, deficits and the public debt,” FT says.
In October 2009, a new Greek government acknowledged that previous debt and deficit figures had indeed been misconstrued. The announcement alarmed investors and eventually precipitated the eurozone’s protracted debt crisis.
There is widespread evidence that, in order to gain admission to the euro in 2001, the Greek government did in fact mislead Brussels about its 1999 budget deficit. Projected 1999 debt and deficit figures reveal that Greece would have run foul of rules limiting deficits to 3 percent of national output.
“The final figures to be supplied by ELSTAT to Brussels could pinpoint the magnitude of Athens’ deception, and possibly also shed new light on how the government managed it,” the article concludes.