Light on budget’s black holes

Some 10 billion euros in budget deficits have been kept secret by the government, according to a report by Greece’s top public auditing agency which was released yesterday. The State Audit Council’s annual report, which was submitted to Parliament on Wednesday together with the 2004 State Budget, reveals a staggering lack of transparency in public accounts, including two that handled over 4 billion euros in recent years. The Economy Ministry conceded that some spending is being kept under wraps, but countered that secret expenditure will be disclosed in future budgets. Commenting on the report, Synaspismos Left Coalition MP Panayiotis Lafazanis said the document revealed «a state of unprecedented lack of transparency and arbitrary behavior in fiscal matters, which lays a vast burden of responsibility on the government.» He urged the ruling Socialists to bring all special accounts to Parliament for scrutiny without further delay.