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PM open to fiscal target easing in EU countries

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PM open to fiscal target easing in EU countries
07:51 CEST+02:00
Sweden's prime minister has said it may be time to ease fiscal targets for certain crisis countries in the EU, but nonetheless signalled that for some there were still tough reforms that needed to be done.

"It's a way of ... saying that we see the efforts you are making, things are going in the right direction. Then, at the very least, you can discuss how quickly you insist on a return to the existing targets," Reinfeldt told Swedish news agency TT.

"It's very important how we express ourselves, so it doesn't become an excuse to ease the reform pressure on countries who need to do more to resolve the competitiveness problems that exist in large parts of Europe," he said, without identifying any countries by name.

"We should not return to the attitude that Europe can live beyond its means and send the cheque into the future, that is unfortunately what many of Europe's countries are still doing," he concluded.

Sweden in March ratified the European fiscal pact introducing "golden rules" making balanced budgets mandatory.

It requires countries to keep their national debt under 60 percent of gross domestic product. It further stipulates that a member's structural deficit which strips out one-off effects such as debt repayments and the economic cycle, should be capped at 0.5 percent of gross domestic product.

Sweden, which on Wednesday reported growth of 0.6 percent in the first quarter, has an economy in relatively good health compared to many other European countries suffering either from weak growth, such as Germany, or in recession, such as France.

AFP/The Local/at

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