ECB denies Venizelos asked for fiscal gap to look smaller

The European Central Bank on Friday denied a German newspaper report that Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos suggested to ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen last month that Greece’s financial figures should be massaged to show a smaller fiscal gap for 2015 and 2016.

“The article is not correct on that point, but we will not discuss details of internal talks,” an ECB spokesperson said with regard to the report in Die Zeit newspaper.

Venizelos’s office had also denied that the PASOK leader had proposed that the figures should be “reorganized,” saying the claim was “totally untrue.”

A Die Zeit journalist, Jana Simon, accompanied Asmussen on a visit to Athens in August and describes how the ECB official was outraged by Venizelos’s alleged request. “For Asmussen, these words characterize the old Greece and outdated, inefficient systems for which he fundamentally has no understanding,” the newspaper reported.

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