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Greece Must Restore Credibility: Swedish Minister

Anjuli Davies|Special to CNBC.com
Wednesday, 20 Jan 2010 | 4:51 AM ET

Greece needs to act on fraudulent reporting and political meddling of statistics to regain its credibility in the eyes of the European Union, Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg told CNBC late Tuesday.

EU finance ministers gathering in Brussels have thrown the rule book at Greece as the country continues to grapple with a ballooning deficit and questions over the veracity of its statistics.

Greek Deficit Reports Fraudulent: Swedish FinMin
Some of the Greek government's reports on its budget deficit have "obviously been fraudulent," Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg told CNBC Tuesday. "You need both to raise taxes and cut expenditure when you're dealing with a deficit of this magnitude," he added.

Borg said that the situation is “very, very worrying” after Greece came under fire from the European Commission last week for mis-stating its public finances.

"We have seen the Greek government in a period of less than a month report a deficit of 2.6 percent for 2009 then over 12 percent. Some of the reporting is obviously fraudulent, some is due to political meddling of statistics," he said.

"We have heard previous finance ministers say that they will correct the situation and deal with the deficit. But what we need now is action not ambition. At the end of the day it will be up to the government to restore credibility," Borg added.

In order to deal with a deficit of such a magnitude the government needs to be very honest and clarify that they need to both raise taxes and cut expenditure, according to the Swedish Finance Minister.

"Your past is going to catch up with you. Every year's deficit is next year's debt and as the debt level becomes higher and more difficult to deal with so your past is going to catch up with you. Every year you are not dealing with the deficit it is going to get worse," he said.

Borg also voiced support for a US-style levy on banks. "It is important that bankers are not allowed to run away from the bill," he said. "Bankers must pay the bill and there must be a tax on the balance sheet of banks."

Contact Europe: Economy

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