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Tax ‘voyeurism’? It’s a Finnish tradition

Commenting on the Panama Papers, Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb told CNBC from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Washington, D.C., that Finland is a "very transparent" country where tax information of all individuals is made public annually.

"We've had that tradition for a long time, some people might say that this is tax voyeurism, I don't think so - it's about transparency, all politicians have to do that. On top of that, we actually have to announce our loans, we have to announce all our ownership… It's part of an open, democratic society and I give it a thumbs-up," said Stubb to CNBC.

Turning to the European Central Bank's (ECB) recent decision to relax monetary policy even further, Stubb, known for his fiscally conservative views, told CNBC that the ECB had no choice in March but to cut interest rates.


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"There's always going to be someone criticizing, 'the interest rates are too high, the interest rates are too low' … As a mortgage holder, I think most Finns are quite happy with the negative interest rates, for other terms – some people might be complaining about it, but, you can never get it right," he said.

Stubb said he believed the worst of the euro zone crisis was "certainly" over, but conceded there was still some pressure on European banks.

"There's still some tails that we're trying to deal with. Greece is obviously one example, bank stability, financial market stability is another one. But all things considered – going back to 2008 -2009, and moving along to 2016 – so far it looks to be a fairly stable year," said Stubb.

The finance minister, who took a tough stance on Greece in 2015, said to CNBC: "To a certain extent I sympathize with them [Greece] and I don't want to be as worried as I was last year."


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