Swedes to push Greeks on debt at ministerial meeting

Sweden’s minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is scheduled to meet his Greek counterpart Stavros Lambrinidis in Stockholm tomorrow for bilateral talks at which the ongoing eurozone debt crisis is likely to top the agenda.

Although not a member of the eurozone, Sweden, along with neighbouring Finland has not been shy of taking a robust line against further bailouts of faltering southern European economies.

However, Sweden is also wary of shoring up its own finances in light of economic data published through the summer, which suggest the country’s record growth rate of 2010 is unlikely to be repeated this year.

One of the country’s biggest banks Swedbank just yesterday announced a downgrade to its GDP growth forecasts for the country and it urged the government to introduce measures intended to ensure the falling rate of unemployment did not stall.

Minister for finance Anders Borg warned last week that tax revenues could be hit by weaker growth in the economy.

That contributed to Sweden’s prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stating during a televised press conference that his party – part of a governing coalition – would pull back from an election pledge to introduce another round of tax cuts for people in jobs and on retirement incomes.

The cuts were to have been introduced in the upcoming autumn Budget. The decision was explained in the context of the fiscal outlook, with a risk that the government would have had to borrow money to finance the cuts. Coalition partners had earlier expressed concerns about the proposed cuts.



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