At the initiative of the ALDE Group, particularly of Jean Arthuis and Thierry Cornillet, a debate on the independence of statistical authorities in the European Union, and more specifically the case of Andreas Georgiou, former President of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), took place on the afternoon of Wednesday 14 November 2018 during the European Parliament's plenary session.
The intention of today’s debate was absolutely not to blame Greece or Greek citizens. Thierry Cornillet insists: "The European Parliament is attached to the independence of the judiciary and the independence of the statistical authorities. However, in the case of Andreas Georgiou, it is a judicial persecution whose consequences are threefold:
- for Andreas Georgiou who has faced accusations for several years, even though he did his job in accordance with European procedures;
- for all the statistical analysis work undertaken by these statistical authorities, whose mission is to provide independent figures upon which public policies will be based;
- for the drawing up of common rules, which require trust between partners. "
The message of the French delegation of the ALDE group is clear: "we fully support Andreas Georgiou both for this situation which is so difficult on a human level, but also in defence of independent institutions that are useful for the work of policy makers. Finally, for the future of Economic and Monetary Union, which requires full trust between partners" said Jean Arthuis.
The Member States and the European Commission must react more firmly because the issues at stake here are important.
Context: Andreas Georgiou was appointed President of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) in August 2010. Since 2011, he has been the subject of several legal proceedings in Greece, accusing him of artificially inflating the public deficit, of not having received the prior approval of his board of directors before transmitting the deficit figures (which is fully in compliance with the European Code of Statistical Practice) and for defaming his predecessor.