The head of Greece’s statistics agency, Andreas Georgiou, is to face a criminal inquiry. An ex-employee of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Zoe Georganta, has accused him of colluding with the European Union’s statistical arm, Eurostat, to inflate Greece’s deficit figure for 2009, thereby justifying Greece’s EU-IMF bailout, signed in May 2010, and its drastic austerity measures. Georgiou vehemently denies the charges.
Financial prosecutors have referred the matter to a special magistrate and the Greek justice system will have to decide on the validity of each side’s arguments.
Beyond the judicial process, some observations about the case are needed as it goes to the very heart of understanding how Greece’s public finances veered dramatically off course and the country turned to the eurozone and International Monetary Fund for emergency loans.
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Posted in Economy, European Union, Greece
Tagged Andreas Georgiou, ELSTAT, Eurostat, Greece, Greek bailout, Greek crisis, Greek debt, Greek deficit, Greek economy, Greek GDP, Greek statistics, Ireland, New Democracy, PASOK, Zoe Georganta
Animated illustration by Manos Symeonakis
There is a wonderful short documentary doing the rounds on the Internet at the moment courtesy of The New York Times. Directed by Errol Morris, the film focuses on the presence of the so-called “Umbrella Man” at the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. With the help of private detective and former philosophy professor Josiah Thompson, Morris paints the picture of the apparently sinister presence of a man holding a black umbrella on a sunny day in Dallas exactly at the point where Kennedy was shot.
However, Thompson goes on to point out that the Umbrella Man eventually came forward and explained that he was holding the umbrella as a protest against the appeasement policy of JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, when he was US ambassador to Britain before the Second World War. The umbrella was a visual reference to the British prime minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, who also carried one.
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Posted in European Union, Greece, Greek politics
Tagged Drachma, euro, European Union, eurozone, Greece, Greece austerity, Greece retirement, Greece tax evasion, Greece working hours, Greek bailout, Greek crisis, Greek debt crisis, Greek public sector, Greek spending, Greek statistics, International Monetary Fund