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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-24

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Fiscal deficit down sharply

  • [01] Fiscal deficit down sharply

    Greece's government deficit fell sharply to 4.5% of gross domestic product in 2005 from 6.9% in 2004, 5.8% in 2003, and 4.9% in 2002, the European Union's statistics service said on Monday.

    At the same time, the Greek deficit was the third highest in the EU25, following Hungary (6.1%) and Portugal (6.0%) but ahead of Italy (4.1%). Another three member states recorded a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, the bloc's target ceiling - the United Kingdom (3.6%), Germany (3.3%) and Malta (3.3%), Eurostat said in a report.

    In 2005, the government deficit in the eurozone decreased from 2.8% of GDP in 2004 to 2.4% in 2005; and in the EU25, it fell from 2.6% to 2.3%. In the eurozone the government debt to GDP ratio rose from 69.8% in 2004 to 70.8% in 2005; and in the EU25 from 62.4% to 63.4%.

    Greece's public debt in 2005 totalled 107.5% of GDP, the highest in the bloc, followed by Italy (106.4%), Belgium (93.3%), Malta (74.7%), and Cyprus (70.3%).

    For Greece, Eurostat said it had to undertake further examination of deficit and debt data. The increase in the country's deficit in 2004 was mainly due to a change in the working balance of the state budget and a downward revision of the surplus for social security funds.

    "Despite the recent improvement in the statistical processes and good co-operation between Eurostat and the national statistical authorities of Greece, issues remain related to the Greek government accounts of a structural and systemic nature. Eurostat will undertake a methodological visit in coming weeks in order to clarify the pending issues," the statement noted.

    Eurostat was providing government debt and deficit data based on figures reported in the first 2006 notification by EU member states for 2002-2005 in implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, based on the ESA95 system of national accounts.

    In 2005, government expenditure in the eurozone was equivalent to 47.5% of GDP, and government revenue to 45.1%. The figures for the EU25 were 47.2% and 44.9% respectively. Between 2004 and 2005 the government expenditure ratio in the eurozone stayed the same whereas the government revenue ratio increased.

    Progress welcomed in accuracy of Greek data

    A spokeswoman for the EU's executive Commission, Amelia Torres, welcomed major progress that Greece has made in the credibility of fiscal data given to the authorities, and she forecast that outstanding issues would be resolved in the near future.

    "There is light at the end of the tunnel," Torres told reporters.

    Pending were the financial status of local authorities and social insurance funds, due for discussion in May when Eurostat officials visited Athens, Torres added.

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