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EU Moves to Reinforce Statistics Agency’s Powers, Independence

The European Union reinforced the powers and independence of its statistics office, including strengthening the autonomy of the head of the agency, as part of efforts to prevent a recurrence of the sovereign-debt crisis.

The European Commission cited “the need to strengthen the governance of European statistics, taking into account significant developments in recent years,” the EU’s executive arm in Brussels said in a statement today. Those developments included Greece’s discovery in late 2009 that its budget deficit was three times larger than estimated, which prompted the EU to complain of “severe irregularities” in the nation’s economic figures.