EU Knew Greece Cooked its Books When it Joined Eurozone

Think tank blames EU for 240bn euro bailout that occurred as a result

By Peter Collins
Epoch Times Staff
Created: May 28, 2012 Last Updated: May 31, 2012
Related articles: United Kingdom » National
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Caretaker Greek Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos speaks during a press conference after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels early on May 24, 2012. (John Thys/AFP/GettyImages)

Caretaker Greek Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos speaks during a press conference after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels early on May 24, 2012. (John Thys/AFP/GettyImages)

Suspect statistics from Greece were overlooked by European Union officials when negotiating Greece’s entry for the single currency in 2002, according to The Federation of European Employers (FedEE).

A statement by the think tank servicing multinational companies operating in Europe questions who is to blame for taxpayers around the world having to pay 240 billion euros for the blunder.

The FedEE dusted off an EU report published in November 2004 by the EU statistics office (Eurostat) in Luxembourg. “This report charts the frustrated efforts of EU statisticians over an 8-year period to persuade the Greek government to provide honest and accurate statistics,” writes the FedEE.

Questions were first raised about the accuracy of Greece’s debt assumptions during meetings on February 8–9, 2006, according to the statement.

“Inconsistencies in the interpretation of capital transfers as a counterpart to various items of debt assumptions” were pointed out in a letter by the director general of Eurostat to the National Statistical Service of Greece. The letter went on to say that “Eurostat could not agree with the exclusion of the counterpart transaction from the net borrowing requirement of the General Government Sector”.

From that time, the Greek Statistical Service would apparently conform to EU requests, but later falsify the figures. In 1997, the EU instructed that “these corrections should be done immediately” and “In spite of this conclusion, Greece did not revise its figures and did not transmit a revised notification,” the records showed.

The FedEE statement said that it would have been well known by EU officials and politicians that the statistics on government debt that Greece provided for the requirements of entry into the euro, in November 2000, could not be trusted.

The pattern of number fudging repeated itself with disastrous results in 2009. In October that year, just after Greece’s new finance minister, George Papakonstantinou, took office he announced that the government debt was three times higher than his predecessors had let on—12.8 per cent instead of 3.6 per cent. Six months later, further calculations put the debt at a staggering 13.6 per cent.

These figures set off the international alarm bells about Greece’s fiscal situation.

In January 2010, Eurostat stated that it would no longer trust data from Athens after seeing irregularities five times between 2005 and 2009.

“Even the new Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, referred to the National Statistical Service of Greece as a ‘joke’,” said Kevin Featherstone, professor at the London School of Economics and director of the Hellenic Observatory in the European Institute, at a lecture in June 2010.

The statistics agency was subsequently made independent of the government as a condition of the bail-out package in 2010.

The secretary-general of the FedEE, Robin Chater, wanted to know why no one has been held responsible for allowing Greece to join the eurozone in the first place.

“Although politicians are quick to point the finger at corporate misdoings they are strangely silent when it is politician themselves—and their officials—that are in error,” said Chater in the statement.

Chater says two individuals are most to blame: Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, who laid the foundation for the European single market; and his successor Jacques Santer, who now heads the Special Purpose Investment Vehicle (SPIV), a mechanism formed to fund bailouts through the eurozone rescue fund.

“Another case of putting the poacher in charge of the pheasants,” says Chater.

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  • Jim Ward

    The anti-Muslim propaganda video was translated to Arabic and widely televised and otherwise distributed throughout the Mideast just days before the Benghazi attacks. The video was conclusively linked, at least in part, to protests, riots and attacks on no less than 54 U.S. facilities in 20 nations, leading to hundreds of casualties and more than 50 deaths.

    The link between the video and the Benghazi attacks came, not from the Obama Administration, but from intelligence, eyewitness reports, statements from Libyan officials, news reports, and even onsite interviews with the heavily armed militants and unarmed protesters. This evidence has not been proven inaccurate.

    Nevertheless, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and other U.S. officials forcefully declared that it made no difference what their motive was — there was no excuse for the violence against our people. None.

    • The Right Fight

      Your claim is false, Jim. Deliberately so … because I’ve already shared with you the evidence. It’s simply not in your propaganda talking points to change the story.

      There were absolutely NO anti-movie protests prior to the attack on the US compound in Benghazi on 9-11.

      This video proves my claim …

      If you still want to perpetuate the lie, then please point out the time segment in this video where there is ANY evidence of a crowd of “unarmed protesters”.

      This video was taken by the attackers, themselves, immediately prior to the attack.

      It shows conclusively that there were NO protests outside of the Benghazi compound.

      This primary evidence PROVES that your claims are inaccurate.

      • Jim Ward

        It has been proven over and over that your 2-minute video tells us nothing about the events at the front of the outpost and nothing about the activities in Benghazi in the hours preceding the attacks. Again, your video is from the rear gate — 400-600 yards away from the main gates — and shows only the small group of militants that reportedly attacked at that location AFTER the initial attack had already commenced at the front of the compound.

        Not only has it long been disproven that the Administration was lying about the link between the attacks and the video protests, there was not even any motive for the Administration to do so. While the Administration could rightly take credit for getting bin Laden and decimating the core leadership of al Qaeda, the President never hung a “Mission Accomplished” banner in regard to the war on terror. In fact, President Obama did just the opposite when he addressed the American people on the night bin Laden was killed, reminding us that the work was not over and that the terrorists would continue to target American interests.

        The Obama Administration never claimed that the Benghazi attacks were the result of peaceful protesters gone awry. All reports had the violence as being perpetrated by already well-armed extremists. All of the initial reports from U.S. officials were prefaced with the caution that they were based on initial intelligence and news reports, were subject to change, and deferred to the FBI report for the final word.

        If you still think the Benghazi attack was tied to the video protests by the Obama Administration, watch this early news report from Benghazi — including an interview with a protester at the outpost:

        The Administration did not make the link between Benghazi and the anti-Muslim propaganda video. This was the conclusion of intelligence, eyewitness reports, news reports and statements from Libyan officials. And It has never been disproven that the already well-armed militants, reacting to the news reports about the anti-Muslim video, took action along with the unarmed protesters.

        The early news reports, including interviews with protesters and militants at the scene, were not influenced by the Administration which rejected any excuse for the violence. The first reports of any protests linked to the video came from Libyan officials and eyewitness reports — not from the Obama Administration or any other U.S. officials. Multiple news reports described that already well-armed members of the attacking militia were prompted to act after viewing on TV the protests in Cairo over the anti-Muslim propaganda video.

        – Washington Post: Stevens arrived Monday from the embassy in Tripoli. “A friend who spent Monday and Tuesday with him said Stevens held meetings with nongovernmental organizations and militia leaders on both days. When the friend dropped Stevens off at the consulate Tuesday afternoon, he said, nothing appeared to be amiss — beyond the protesters.”
        “The first protesters had showed up around noon. Wanis al-Sharif, the deputy Libyan interior minister, said in an interview that the demonstrators were angered by a low-budget American film that portrayed the prophet Muhammad in a blasphemous manner. As the day wore on, Sharif said, the anger escalated and people with weapons infiltrated the crowd.”
        “By late Tuesday evening,” heavily armed militants “joined protesters outside the consulate who were demonstrating against an American movie that they believed denigrated the prophet Muhammad. They said, ‘We are Muslims defending the prophet. We are defending Islam,’ ” Libyan television journalist Firas Abdelhakim said in an interview.” (September 12, 2012)

        – CNN quoted Libyan officials describing that “an “angry crowd” marched on the U.S. compound Tuesday, furious about an American-produced online film considered offensive to Muslims.” (September 12, 2012)

        – The Daily Telegraph: One eyewitness told “how an armed group infiltrated the ordinary protesters and sounded a warning. They told those nearby to stay back, that they had guns.” (September 12, 2012)

        – The New York Times: The Times, which had two journalists on the ground the night of the attack, also reported on demonstrators on the scene who were motivated by the anti-Islam film. “A group of armed assailants mixed with unarmed demonstrators gathered at the small compound that housed a temporary American diplomatic mission” in Benghazi. “Interviewed at the scene on Tuesday night, many attackers and those who backed them said they were determined to defend their faith from the video’s insults,” the Times reported. (September 12, 2012)

        – AP reported that, “A lawyer passing by the scene said he saw the militants gathering around 20 youths from nearby to chant against the film. Within an hour or so, the assault began, guns blazing as the militants blasted into the compound.” “One of the Benghazi outpost’s private Libyan guards said masked militants grabbed him and beat him, one of them calling him “an infidel protecting infidels who insulted the prophet.” (October 27, 2012)

        – CBS/AP reported that “Wanis al-Sharef, a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said the four Americans were killed when the angry mob, which gathered to protest a U.S.-made film that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, fired guns and burned down the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.” (September 12, 2012)

        – Reuters, which also had reporters in Benghazi, reported that “the attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.” The article quoted 17-year-old Haman, who took part in the attack, as saying: “The protesters were running around the compound just looking for Americans, [and] they just wanted to find an American so they could catch one.” “Hamam said Ansar al-Sharia cars arrived at the start of the protest but left once fighting started.” (September 12, 2012)

        – Reuters reporter on NPR: “Almost Everybody Here Believes That It Was A Reaction To The Movie.” NPR’s Morning Edition, the network interviewed Hadeel Al-Shalchi of Reuters, who “had been talking with authorities and protestors.” (September 13, 2012)

        – Al Jazeera: Attackers Were Responding To News Of “American Movie Insulting The Prophet Mohammed.” Al Jazeera producer Suleiman El Dressi reported from Benghazi that “a group of people calling themselves as “Islamic law supporters” heard the news that there will be an American movie insulting the Prophet Mohammed. Once they heard this news they came out of their military garrison and they went into the street calling [unintelligible] to gather and go ahead and attack the American consulate in Benghazi.” (September 12, 2012)

        – AP reported a day after the Benghazi attack, an unidentified Ansar al-Shariah spokesman said the militia was not involved “as an organization” — leaving open the possibility members were involved. He praised the attack as a popular “uprising” sparked by the anti-Islam film, further propagating the image of a mob attack against the [outpost]. (September 12, 2012)

        – New York Times: “Libyans Who Witnessed the Assault And Know The Attackers Say They Cited The Video.” The New York Times reported having spoken with “fighters involved in the assault,” who told the paper “in interviews during the battle that they were moved to attack the mission by anger over a 14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon.” “Interviewed at the scene on Tuesday night, many attackers and those who backed them said they were determined to defend their faith from the video’s insults,” the Times reported. “Their attack followed by just a few hours the storming of the compound surrounding the United States Embassy in Cairo by an unarmed mob protesting the same video.” (September 12, 2012 and October 16, 2012)

  • The Right Fight

    This video taken by the Benghazi attackers that proves there were no anti-movie protests in Benghazi prior to the attack on the US compound …


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