28th Oct 2016

EU wants answers on Wall Street role in Greek debt

  • It has been alleged that Wall Street banks facilitated Greek government efforts to skirt European debt limits (Photo: wikipedia)

The European Commission has said it is seeking answers following allegations that Wall Street investment banks helped Greece hide the extent of its debt.

"Eurostat [the EU's statistics agency] has, following these reports, already requested from the Greek authorities an explanation by the end of February," said EU economy spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio at a news conference in Brussels on Monday (15 February).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Over the last decade, Wall Street banks facilitated Greek government efforts to skirt European debt limits, reported the New York Times over the weekend. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from officials in Brussels, the paper alleges.

Goldman executives approached Greece as recently as last November with complicated financial instruments to push debt from the country's health care system far into the future, it continues, adding that similar arrangements have been struck in the past.

Athens says it did not purse the latest Goldman proposal.

Complicated currency swaps are at the eye of the latest storm. The commission said the swaps are a legitimate government management tool provided "they are calculated from observed market rates."

"This is something that we will have to assess based on the information we will receive," said Mr Tardio.

"There was an excessive deficit procedure methodological visit to Greece in 2008 and at the time Eurostat did not receive information about such transactions," he said.

The commission is to come forward shortly with a proposal to give Eurostat auditing powers, with the latest allegations emphasizing the need for greater scrutiny, said Mr Tardio.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersUN global sustainable development goals, integration, and security on agenda for Nordic Council Session 2016
  2. Taipei EU OfficeTaiwan Seeks to Join Fight against Global Warming
  3. ANCI LazioAnci Lazio Definetely has a lot to Celebrate This Year
  4. EU-China ForumDebating the Future of the EU-China Relations on 28 November in Prague
  5. COMECEMigrants: From Fear to Compassion
  6. Birdlife EuropeBusiness as Usual - Juncker Snubs Environment and Protects Broken CAP
  7. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  8. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  10. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  11. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  12. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament

Latest News

  1. Calais children abandoned at former camp site
  2. Greece to probe UN allegations of illegal returns
  3. Poland defies EU on rule of law
  4. Belgium breaks Ceta deadlock
  5. Left MEPs thwarting Dieselgate probe, say right MEPs
  6. Cars should be allowed to exceed emissions limits, say experts
  7. EU case against Google is bad for developers
  8. Privacy activists mount court challenge to EU-US data pact