BRUSSELS, March 4 The European Parliament will
soon organise a public hearing on the unreliable Greek
statistics, the EU assembly said in a statement on Thursday.
The hearing "of all those implicated in the falsification of
Greek public accounts" is to be "promptly" organised by the
parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee, the
statement said, but gave no exact date for the hearing.
The statement said that parliament would invite to it the
representatives of the European Commission, the Eurogroup, the
European Central Bank, Eurostat, the Greek government,
investment bank Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and others.
"This hearing is not intended to look for an easy scapegoat
in Goldman Sachs, although its practices pose serious problems
elsewhere especially concerning its participation in the current
wave of speculation on Greek debt," former Belgian Prime
Minister Guy Verhofstadt, now a member of European Parliament,
said in the statement.
"The goal is to understand how and why the entire political
and administrative chain, from Athens to Brussels passing
through Frankfurt, could have ignored the dressing up of Greek
public accounts ", said Verhofstadt, who originally proposed the
idea of the hearing.
The European Commission has said in a report earlier this
year that Greek statistics were unreliable and prone to
political influence after a new government in Athens revealed
that the country's budget deficit would be 12.7 percent in 2009
- double the initially forecast amount.
It also revised upwards deficit data for 2008. Goldman Sachs
helped the Greek government in 2001 to organise financing
through complex financial instruments which Greece did not
include in its overall borrowing figures -- a practice Athens
says did not break any rules in place at the time.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, editing by Ron Askew)