The European Union's executive commission has publicly defended Greece's former statistics chief, who is facing trial for allegedly misreporting deficit figures.

Marianne Thyssen, the EU labor commissioner, said Wednesday she had written to the Greek government asking it to uphold the independence of the country's statistical agency.

Former director Andreas Georgiou, who is facing trial, led the reorganization of the Greek statistics agency after it had earlier hidden the extent of the country's deficits. Greece had to be bailed out in 2010 by other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.

Thyssen said data issued by the agency under Georgiou's leadership was reliable.