The International Statistical Institute (ISI) has issued a statement in support of the head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Andreas Georgiou (photo), who along with two board members, is to face felony charges regarding the alleged manipulation of the country’s deficit figure in 2009.
“We believe there is absolutely no merit to the charges brought against Mr Andreas Georgiou and his two ELSTAT colleagues,” the ISI said in its statement. “If they were to proceed it would not only be harmful for these statisticians; it would also undermine both the professional independence of official statistics in Greece in the long term and international confidence in Greek statistics and the Greek government and institutions.”
The ISI also pointed out that Greek fiscal statistics had been consistently approved by the European Commission’s statistical arm, Eurostat, since Georgiou took over at ELSTAT in 2010.
“The public finance problems of Greece were due in part to poor and erroneous statistics over a number of years, which meant that the seriousness of the situation was not addressed earlier with less austere economic and social policy adjustments,” the Hague-based institute said.