Minister explains revision

Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis yesterday responded to charges by the opposition PASOK party, saying the government’s decision to revise the size of Greece’s deficits was, above all, an obligation to citizens. PASOK, which lost elections in March, has accused the conservatives of exaggerating the situation and of blackening Greece’s reputation by declaring that public finances since 2000 had been cooked. «The opposition claimed we should have continued hiding the true fiscal situation, in keeping with past policy. But this was neither desirable nor possible,» Alogoskoufis said in a long letter to members of Parliament. «As a principle, the government cannot hide the truth from the citizens and its EU partners. Hiding the truth and planning policy on the basis of virtual reality leads to political, economic and national dead ends.» Alogoskoufis conceded that «both in the EU and markets, a large part of the problem was known. In any case, the Bank of Greece had for years published figures regarding deficits and debt which differed from the formal fiscal figures.»

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