Head of budget panel resigns after minister?s reaction

The Finance Ministry?s strong reaction to a report appears to be behind the resignation on Thursday of the head of a newly created parliamentary agency created to monitor budget progress.

Stella Savva-Balfousia, head of the State Budget Execution Monitoring Office, which is staffed by independent analysts, tendered her resignation citing the strong reactions against a report issued late Wednesday, which warned that the dynamics of the public debt, boosted by a significant debt increase, a high primary deficit and a deepening recession, were now out of control.

Earlier on Thursday, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos had attacked the credentials of the authors of the report. ?All responsible international organisations know in which way macroeconomic and fiscal reports are compiled, checked and published,? Venizelos said in a statement. ?It is clear that the budget office still lacks this knowledge, experience and sense of responsibility,? the minister said.

The report warned that Greece was likely to miss its budget targets in 2011 even if it fully implemented the reforms adopted, and that the primary deficit had already exceeded the annual target in the first seven months of this year.

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