Bulgaria to Assuage in Brussels 'Greek-Style Budget Fraud' Fears

Finance | June 21, 2010, Monday // 07:56|  views

In Brussels, Minister Simeon Djankov (pictured) will confer with European Union Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's finance minister is heading to Brussels on Monday in a bid to deny allegations that a new Greek-style budgetary fraud is possibly looming in his country.

In Brussels, Minister Simeon Djankov will confer with European Union Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn.

The visit comes about two weeks after Olli Rehn expressed concerns over Bulgaria's statistical performance and said a mission with audit powers will be sent to Sofia.

The EU finance ministers agreed to give the European statistical office new powers to make sure EU governments comply with limits on their borrowing.

The finance minister has repeatedly said, that the mission is no surprise and cause for concern, since the government had informed the European Commission of the upward revision in the budget deficit as early as in April.

At the end of April Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said the previous Socialist-led government had kept them in the dark over BGN 2.16 B contracts, which pushed the 2009 deficit up from a projected 1.9% to 3.7% of GDP

A few days alter, in the first of its twice-yearly reviews of government finances in the 27-member bloc, Eurostat said the Bulgarian government's budget deficit was 3.9% of gross domestic product last year.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the country's former Socialist-led administration, saying the government has lied to the EU colleagues about the country's readiness for the euro zone, being unaware of this trap.

According to Minister Djankov it is exactly the upward revision of the budget deficit for 2009 that has prompted Brussels to send an auditing mission.

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Tags: Olli Rehn, eurostat, National Statistical Institute, budget deficit, 2010 budget, European Commission, Simeon Djankov


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