Commission report reveals extra 2.2 billion euros in state arrears


The European Commission’s report on the progress of the repayment of Greece’s state debt revealed hitherto unknown expired debts of the state which came to some 2.2 billion at the end of August. According to the country’s creditors, this brings the sum of state debts to third parties to 8.4 billion, and not 6.4 billion euros as the Finance Ministry claims. At the end of September the debts had declined to 8 billion, the creditors noted.

Comparison of the data that the ministry announces each month with the figures for end-August issued on Tuesday by the Commission shows the following:

– The Commission estimates there is some 1.75 billion euros in outstanding tax rebates which the tax authorities have been notified of by the claimants but which have not been processed or checked. This figure does not appear at all in the ministry’s monthly bulletin.

– Pensions that remain pending totaled 1.44 billion euros at end-August, according to the EC. These were also absent from the ministry’s report.

– The Commission’s figure for tax rebates that the tax authorities have approved matches that of the ministry: 1.341 billion euros at end-August.

– The state had debts to its suppliers of 4.9 billion euros according to the ministry, and 3.9 billion according to Brussels, The difference is attributed to different methodologies, as the ministry does not include the rebates and clawbacks in the pharma sector.

Sources have told Kathimerini that the reason the first two categories of debts have been included in the Commission’s report is that the International Monetary Fund insisted on their being recorded as expired debts.

On the other hand, Greek ministry officials claim that the monthly bulletin leaves them out because the unchecked tax rebates may be erroneous data or could hide tax evasion, while the pensions are stuck due to administrative-bureaucratic factors and not because there is no liquidity to cover them.

In any case, the government and the country’s creditors agreed in this summer’s technical memorandum of understanding (TMU) that the method to track the repayment course of debts will be the one to take into account the unchecked tax rebates and the pending pensions too.