Statistics frauds to be punished under new EU data proposals

Tim Wallace
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GOVERNMENTS that manipulate official statistics to falsely give a positive impression of their success could be punished under rules proposed yesterday by the European Commission.

At the same time European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi called for improved financial sector statistics, arguing that better data is needed if the authorities are to properly promote stability in the industry.

He told a conference in Frankfurt “it is vital to collect data consolidated at the level of banking groups or insurance groups” to fully understand “the various kinds of risk to which banks are exposed and the adequacy of their capital in view of these risks”.

Meanwhile the Commission said national statistics chiefs should be “entirely autonomous in their work,” and said it wants to punish governments who fail to safeguard the independence of state data providers, or make politically-motivated appointments.

Greece infamously fiddled its deficit figures for years, allowing it to join the euro under false pretences and build up the enormous debts that left it needing two bailouts.