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European Commission should appoint special representative to Greece


03 Mar 2010

The economic spotlight is firmly focussed on Athens this week as policy makers across Europe struggle to find a response to the Greek debt crisis that sends a positive signal to the markets without undermining the credibility or solidarity of the wider eurozone.

"Drastic circumstances call for drastic measures," said Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader. "A credible austerity plan is clearly desperately needed to bring Greek public accounts into line but in order to reassure the markets and European taxpayers, there should be close supervision of Greek budgetary policy by a Commission representative until the deficit is down to the level required by the Stability Pact."

Guy Verhofstadt last week called for the European Parliament to take the lead in investigating the causes of the current Greek economic crisis which has brought the country to its knees and on the verge of defaulting. He will be seeking agreement on Thursday this week, at a meeting of other group leaders and Parliament's President, to push for the hearings with all actors involved, including Eurostat and Goldman Sachs investment bank.

"Parliament should not delay in setting up these hearings. It is a matter of some urgency to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible, draw the appropriate conclusions and instigate the necessary reforms to the terms of the Stability and Growth Pact, the role of the Eurogroup in political oversight or the powers of the European Commission to closely monitor the macro-financial decisions of Member States of the Eurozone that can impact so dramatically on the whole area."

"The Commission's recent proposal to strengthen the role of Eurostat in monitoring national accounts is a first measure that must be fully supported, including by Council which had initially rejected the idea back in 2005."

"The American Federal Reserve and the Greek national parliament are already conducting their own enquiries into the affair, in particular the role of Goldman Sachs in assisting the Greek Government in disguising the true state of its accounts. The European Parliament is the right forum to bring all the actors together to examine the case at an EU level and the measures to prevent it recurring."

For more information, please contact:
Neil Corlett: +32-2-284 20 77 or +32-478-78 22 84


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