Sweden calls on Spain, Portugal to disclose cost-cutting measures

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg has called on Spain and Portugal to disclose their deficit reduction plans at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels that begins later Monday.

"It is now of the utmost importance that Spain and Portugal show which measures they are taking within their respective tightening packages to reduce their large deficits," Borg said in a statement.

"It is only by cleaning up public finances that long-term stability can be ensured," he added.

A staunch supporter of budgetary discipline, Sweden last year posted the best public finances in the European Union, with a deficit amounting to just 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) -- well below the three percent limit.

This year, the Scandinavian country's deficit is expected to inch up to around 2.0 percent, before slipping back to 1.6 percent next year, according to the European Commission.

When Sweden held the rotating EU presidency in the second half of 2009, the country repeatedly stressed the need to create an "exit strategy" for the union's large deficits that ballooned as governments implemented stimulus packages to counter the effects of the global financial crisis.

The eurozone finance ministers are set to meet in Brussels later Monday in an attempt to thrash out ways to shore up the falling euro currency amid the ongoing Greek debt drama.

Greece has received a three-year 110 billion euro rescue package from its eurozone counterparts, which along with the International Monetary Fund have also agreed a package worth 750 billion euros designed to prevent the Greek crisis from spreading to other weak eurozone economies.

Sweden, which is not part of the eurozone, will not take part in Monday's meeting, but Borg will represent the Scandinavian country at a meeting in Brussels Tuesday of all EU finance ministers.

© 2010 AFP

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