Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem has described the legal proceedings filed against the former chief of the country’s statistics agency, Andreas Georgiou, as a “big mistake.”
Speaking to Bloomberg, the Dutch finance minister nonetheless stressed that the prosecution of the former ELSTAT chief for allegedly inflating Greece’s 2009 deficit to justify a bailout by the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund will not derail the Greek bailout program.
On Thursday, Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis, had expressed the government’s “full confidence” in the country’s statistics after mounting pressure from the European Commission to publicly endorse ELSTAT’s figures.
The government’s support for data published by ELSTAT was a precondition for Greece receiving bailout loans.
European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said Friday that Brussels has taken Houliarakis’s remarks into consideration.
However, he noted that the issue of ELSTAT has been included on the agenda of the Eurogroup on September 9 in Bratislava, where Greece is expected to come under renewed pressure to close the subject.
The issue has come to add further strain to already tense relations between the leftist-led government and its international creditors, who are demanding that Greece immediately implement the prior actions it has agreed as part of its bailout, while both sides are eager to complete the second review before the end of the year.