SYRIZA calls on independent authorities to debunk fiscal gap claims by gov’t

Main opposition SYRIZA called on the Greek Fiscal Council and the Parliament’s Budgetary Office on Tuesday to offer an opinion on the execution of the state budget when the handover to the New Democracy government occurred in July 2019, contesting the government’s claims that it received a state budget with a 396-million-euro gap.

On Monday, former Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos had requested by letter an appointment of a SYRIZA delegation to the Finance Ministry to review the data.

Today’s call by former Alternate FinMin George Chouliarakis over a gap reflecting 0.2 pct of the GDP was a follow-up to independent authorities, he said, as “the relevant deputy minister refused to ask the General Accounting Office to provide an evaluation of the budgetary gap.”

Tsakalotos’ and Chouliarakis’ reactions are a response of “claims by the Finance Ministry and by several majority MPs,” both said in their statements.

In his letter on Tuesday Chouliarakis further said, “This claim is based on interim public finance projections for July 10, which were corrected and amended immediately following,” and which, he said, “the Finance Ministry has chosen to remain silent about.”

If such a fiscal gap existed, he noted, “the goverment should have taken relevant state budget contraction measures, either by increasing taxes or by restricting expenditures. There is no other way of restoring the fiscal gap, and gaps do not disappear on their own. But such a contraction did not take place.”