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IAOSISI

31 March 2021

The ISI and IAOS have followed with growing concern the continued persecution through the justice system in Greece of Andreas Georgiou, former Head of the Greek Statistical Office, ELSTAT.

Also see the previous ISI Statements and Letters Concerning Statistical Ethics.

A Greek appeals court has found Andreas Georgiou liable for slander. The slander charges relate to a public statement Georgiou made in his official role as President of ELSTAT while fulfilling his responsibility to defend the official deficit and debt statistics for Greece produced under his leadership. These statistics have been fully validated by Eurostat — the statistical office of the EU. The UN’s Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics give statistical offices the right to comment publicly on criticisms and misuse of statistics.

Greece’s legal actions and decisions against Georgiou on several closely related cases is now in its tenth year with the initial legal proceedings against him having begun in September 2011.

We restate our grave concern that these continued prosecutions have damaged the scientific integrity of highly regarded work addressing Greece’s problematic fiscal statistical reporting from the 2000s. This case has implications for the international statistical system, and the rights of government statisticians to defend their statistics, as allowed under the UN Principles.

In September 2018 Georgiou was awarded a special commendation by the ISI, the American Statistical Association, the Royal Statistical Society and other statistical societies to acknowledge his upholding of the highest professional standards in his public service in the pursuit of integrity of statistical systems.

Defending official statistics, as required by the UN Fundamental Principles of Statistics and the European Statistics Code of Practice, should not lead to legal prosecution.

We join with other statistical associations in:

  1. Urging the end to the now 10-year persecution of Andreas Georgiou and his full exoneration, thereby signalling Greece’s commitment to accurate and ethical government statistics.
  2. Calling on the international statistical community to express their support for Andreas Georgiou in media outlets throughout the world.

John Bailer
President
International Statistical Institute

John Pullinger
President
International Association for Official Statistics