OPINION

Fiscal deviations

Despite their pro-European and modern-minded outlook, and despite distancing themselves from the political legacy of Andreas Papandreou and the reactionary views of the old PASOK, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his aides have failed to grasp one simple fact: Greece’s financial data – like those of any other member state – are closely monitored by European Union bodies, and no government can snub their findings. And yet the Simitis government is trying to bypass this fact through attempts to con the European Commission’s responsible officials. In effect, officials in Brussels believe that Athens does not hesitate to fabricate statistical evidence – that is, the real economic numbers – in order to avoid any political cost at the domestic level. There is no need to describe the effect of the government’s blatant attempt to bamboozle EU officials on Greece’s ostensibly «reinforced image» in Europe. It seems, however, this book cooking, which jeopardizes the future of the Greek economy, is coming to an end as the European Commission is not willing to turn a blind eye to Greece’s fiscal deviations – as it did, to some degree, with some of Athens’s statistics before giving the green light for our eurozone entry. It is too late, of course, for Greece’s self-styled Europeanists – who have been very «un-European» in handling the public finances – to change mentality. The Simitis government looks set to continue the same policy. Simitis’s stance clearly shows that the government’s economic experts are incapable of keeping the lid on fiscal deviations, which are the outgrowth of their own pitiful accounting methods. The government that will emerge after the coming polls will be called upon to shoulder the huge fiscal burden which has been created by the neo-reformists under Simitis.