“They must be serious,” said Borg of the Greek government. “What we’ve seen so far is not enough.
Non-euro Sweden was vocal in its demands going into a meeting of all 27 European Union finance ministers in Brussels, at which a decision by the 16 euro countries late on Monday to impose “additional measures” on Greece within 30 days, should Brussels deem progress insufficient, was to be rubber-stamped.
“We need more concrete steps when it comes to taxes, otherwise they can’t
keep their social cohesion and we need concrete steps when it comes to expenditure,” Borg said.
“We are far from there yet. If they want to build credibility in the markets, they must surpass expectations. And they haven’t done that so far.”
Borg said that without a more ambitious programme in Athens, the onslaught by fund managers on Greece and, by extension, the euro will only “drag out.”
He reiterated Sweden’s view, supported by Britain, that a “strong role” should be handed to the International Monetary Fund in the “surveillance and monitoring” of Greek economic policy.
However, eurozone chief and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker dismissed the call for greater IMF assistance as an “absurd” irrelevance “fuelled by Anglo-Saxon voices” seen as hostile to the shared currency.
“If California had a refinancing problem, the United States wouldn’t go to the IMF,” he said.
“Why should the euro area go to the IMF if we have our own resources?”
Juncker also attacked what he called the “irrational” behaviour of financial markets during the deficit crisis, stressing that Monday’s decision means that:
“Europe can impose on Greece, by qualified majority voting, the decisions Europe wants Greece to take.”