Juan Rodríguez Poo presented his resignation as President of the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Monday, after months in which the Government has publicly questioned the work and methodology of the Institute.
European regulations do not allow for public recommendations by the Government on the indicators to be measured by the Institute. As, for example, those made by the First Vice-President, Nadia Calviño, on the use of the so-called “daily GDP”. According to Calviño, this has recovered its pre-pandemic volume – unlike GDP, which remains 3.6% lower according to the latest data from the Bank of Spain. The same applies to the sources of information to be used, as has occurred in the debate on the measurement of the price of energy in the free market to calculate the CPI.
On Monday, the government wanted to camouflage the resignation of the former president of INE as part of a legal reform and the drafting of a new statute for the body that is being drawn up with the aim of strengthening it. “In the coming weeks, the Council of Ministers will approve a new statute for the National Statistics Institute (INE) and the replacement of the body’s president (…) A replacement process for this post is underway and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks,” the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced.
The Association of Senior State Statisticians, which expressed its support for the outgoing president, has explained that “for more than 30 years, the president of INE has never been dismissed for reasons such as not liking the statistical formula used to calculate an indicator”.
The science behind the statistics is determined by European regulations, to prevent data from being falsified in each country. For the last two weeks there have been attempts to interfere against the former president of INE with the idea that the Ministry of Economy is going to create a new index not regulated by the EU and that is useless. Statistics regulations state that this cannot be done. The government cannot impose indices. The pressure has been such that the president has opted to resign,” say sources from the Association.
This succession of events has been followed by a cascade of reactions from organisations, associations, social agents, economists and, above all, politicians. They have closed ranks with the Institute and criticised the attempt at interference by the Executive, comparing it to what it has carried out in other state institutions, such as the CIS or the Attorney General’s Office.
According to the leader of the opposition, Alberto Nuñez Feijóo: “To see the director of the INE being dismissed because the government does not agree with the official statistics on economic growth and inflation is undoubtedly a mistake that affects the credibility, reliability and reputation of the Kingdom of Spain”.