This morning CNBC published an article that offers an inside view of the Eurostat. How their role changed dramatically from a stats collecting organization into a feared auditor throughout Europe.
“We statisticians like to be invisible, we want our products to speak. But we were immediately in the limelight,” Radermacher, a bow-tie-wearing German who has headed Eurostat since 2008, told Reuters in an interview.
Back in 2009, a new Greek government had found that its predecessor lied about its borrowings and had run up huge debts.
In the letter sent to Eurostat, Greece’s budget deficit was going to be 12.5 percent of economic output in 2009, not the 3.7 percent figure the previous administration had foreseen.
Greece’s restatement not only destroyed the illusion that all euro zone members were equal and forced Athens into a bailout, but exposed Eurostat’s inability to ensure the quality of EU data because it lacked the power to do so.
“It was really like a tsunami,” Radermacher said, recalling how he felt when he read the Greek letter notifying Eurostat of the revisions that would play a role in provoking the crisis. The letter set Eurostat off on an unlikely course that has transformed its 800-strong team into a kind of European auditor.
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