Final GDP figures out in spring

LUXEMBOURG – Greece’s forthcoming exit from the regime of fiscal supervision under the European Union’s Stability Pact, announced early yesterday, confirms that the credibility of its economy has been restored. The government plans to continue the short- and medium-term fiscal rehabilitation and is also aiming for approval by Brussels of the new national accounts as well as the proposed upward revision in the gross domestic product (GDP) Speaking on the sidelines of the Ecofin council session, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that all the data at his disposal show that Greece will achieve bringing the budget deficit below the mandated 3 percent of GDP in both 2006 and 2007, irrespective of the final result of the revision. He said that the European Commission will continue using the pre-revision data until Eurostat approves the revision, expected in the spring. He said the process, which will focus on the methodology employed by the Greek National Statistics Service, will be, as for any other country, detailed and copious, requiring a number of visits by Eurostat officials to Athens. The Commission is expected to recommend Greece’s exit from the regime of fiscal supervision in April, but this is unrelated to the revision. Almunia and Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis attributed Greece’s high proposed GDP revision – 25 percent – to the long time that has elapsed since the previous adjustment in 1994. Alogoskoufis said that the GDP figures should be revised every five years, as required by regulations. He said said that the revision, which was started in 2004 and was sent to the Commission on September 22, was in no case undertaken to dress up the deficit figures, as this would have been meaningless anyway given that Greece is exiting the regime of supervision on the old data. «The correct data is the key guide to drafting economic policy… The fiscal problem is not solved by going under the 3 percent threshold. It is necessary that Greece continues at the required pace until 2010, or 2012 at the latest, so as to achieve balanced or surplus budgets,» he said.

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