Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry ‘not surprised or worried’ by Eurostat mission

Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry ‘not surprised or worried’ by Eurostat mission

Bulgaria's Finance Ministry says that the Eurostat mission to Sofia was expected and the ministry is neither surprised nor worried by it. The visit by the EU statistics office follows European Commission "concern" about Bulgaria's statistics. "We have had some concerns as regards the statistical performance of Bulgaria and are considering sending a mission shortly ... which has all these audit powers," European Monetary Affaris Commissioner Olli Rehn said on June 8 2010, the same day that the Council of the EU agreed on a general approach on a draft regulation aimed at strengthening the rules concerning statistical data used under the EU's excessive deficit procedure. The aim of the proposed new regulation is to allow the European Commission and EU  member states to work together more effectively in improving the quality and reliability of statistical data used to determine government deficit and debt figures, a media statement said. This follows recurrent discrepancies and shortcomings in figures notified to theEuropean Commission by Greece in relation to its public finances, and repeated calls by the Council for it to improve the collection and processing of its statistical data. The Greek debt crisis highlighted the problems that European authorities had with verifying economic data given to it by member states, the BBC said. Like Greece, Bulgaria had to significantly revise its budget deficit calculation for 2009, from 1.9 per cent of GDP to 3.7 per cent. Bulgaria's Finance Ministry said on June 8 that the Eurostat mission had been expected since the updated statistics about the budget deficit of the country came out in May. Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov had spoken about the possibility of such a mission even before the approval of Bulgaria's Convergence Programme, the ministry said. A Eurostat mission to Sofia would be among the first to be carried out against the background of new audit powers for the bloc's statistics office.

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