This should come as a shock, but somehow I am not exactly surprised. Mediterranean cooking evidently isn’t always as benign and healthy as it seems.
Greece was warned on Thursday that it could face legal action for grossly under-reporting its national deficit and debt figures but was told it would not be ejected from the 12-country eurozone.
Revised figures revealed Greece broke the single currency’s 3 per cent of GDP deficit ceiling every year in the 2000-3 period.
The European Union will launch an inquiry to check the veracity of the figures it provided before 2000, the year Greece qualified to join the single currency.
The scale of the inaccuracies has sent shockwaves across the single currency area, which relies on member states to provide sound economic data.
…………Eurostat, the EU’s statistical arm, could start legal proceedings against Athens for breaching accounting rules.
Greece, however, is unlikely to be ejected from the eurozone, even though there are now doubts about whether it complied with the membership rules before 2000.
The new data revised the Greek 2000 deficit to 4.1 per cent from a prior estimate of 2 per cent.
The 2001 and 2002 deficits now stand at 3.7 per cent compared with 1.4 per cent previously. The 2003 deficit, which had already been revised up in May to 3.2 per cent from 1.7 per cent, is now shown to be even higher – at 4.6 per cent of GDP.
Cost-overruns on the building of venues and transport systems for last month’s Athens Olympics games, estimated at more than ?2.5bn ($3bn, ?1.7bn), contributed to a projected deficit of 5.3 per cent of GDP this year.
Source: Financial Times
It is also worth bearing in mind that the accumulated Greek deficit currently is one of the highest in the EU and stands at around 100% of GDP. The interesting question now is what happens next.