GDP revision attacked

Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis yesterday came under heavy attack by opposition members over his announcement that Greece’s gross domestic product is to be revised upwards by 25 percent. Vasso Papandreou, economy spokeswoman for the opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), said the magnitude of the GDP revision was a trick to ensure Greece would cut its budget deficit sufficiently to emerge from close European Union supervision and accused Alogoskoufis of creating the problem in the first place when his «audit» of the economy greatly increased Greece’s deficit and public debt. «The government admits it is not a serious government. It admits that, for petty party reasons, it made the country enter EU monitoring and undermined its reputation,» Papandreou told reporters yesterday. Papandreou admitted that she had not seen the data upon which the revision was based, but added that the whole procedure exposed Greece as cheating to get more EU aid. «(With the audit) the government told our EU partners we fraudulently joined the eurozone. No, it tells them that we fraudulently got more money from the Fourth Community Support Framework,» she said. Alogoskoufis’s response was low-key. He maintained that the revision was legitimate and that it did not change the economy’s need for further fiscal stability and more tax revenue. The European Union has responded to the revision with skepticism, saying its scale was «unprecedented» and that it would have to examine the figures. Yesterday, Amelia Torres, spokeswoman for Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, said the revision of national accounts is a mandatory process for all members. Privately, EU officials said that, if accepted, Greece’s GDP revision will mean that Greece’s contribution to the EU budget will increase and that some of the aid provided, especially for poorer regions, amounting to nearly 3.7 billion euros for the period 2007-2013, may be cut. The revision would boost Greece’s GDP to 95 percent of the EU average.