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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Greece unveils bill to fix flawed stats service ]

Greece unveils bill to fix flawed stats service

Greece unveils bill to fix flawed stats service
February 04, 2010 - Reuters

Greece unveiled legislation on Thursday to make its discredited statistics service fully independent after the European Union demanded it put an end to the release of flawed economic data.

The draft legislation, part of measures by the socialist government to restore the country's credibility with financial markets, aims to stop political meddling by giving to parliament -- rather than the finance ministry -- the task of appointing the chief of the statistics office.

Greece's frequent revisions of national account data since it joined the euro zone in 2001 have irked its European Union partners, who have demanded an overhaul of the service. [LDE6101MH].

Its revelation in October that the 2009 deficit would be twice as big as a previous estimates -- and four times the EU ceiling -- prompted Eurogroup Chairman Jean Claude Juncker to say "the game is over -- we need serious statistics."

On Wednesday the EU launched legal action against Greece after a damning report found Greek debt and deficit data, as provided by the current National Statistics Service (NSS), were unreliable and politically influenced. [LDE60D1BV]

The finance ministry said the draft legislation, which will establish the "Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTA)" as an independent body, is a major step in restoring the credibility of Greek economic indicators.

The draft law fully implements EU regulations on best practices for delivering statistics, it said.

Under the new rules, the head of the new service will be selected among Greek and foreign candidates and will need to be approved by 288 out of 360 members of parliament.

The service's board of directors will be made up of respected professionals and will also be appointed by a qualified parliamentary majority. The finance ministry will be able to propose only one member of the board.

ELSTA will be flanked by a Statistics Council, including representatives of professional associations, labour unions, and a representative of Eurostat or of a statistics agency from another EU member country, the ministry said.


(Source: Financial Mirror, http://www.financialmirror.com/News/Cyprus_and_World_News/19260)



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