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EU finance ministers meet to restore confidence

03-14-2012 14:02 BJT

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EU finance ministers continue to meet in Brussels, where they've given unemployment-ridden Spain a bit more wiggle room when it comes to cutting its super-sized deficit.

The move suggests that the new, stricter rules against overspending in the currency union still retain some flexibility for the hardest-hit countries.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, speaks with Sweden's Finance
Minister Anders Borg, right, and Finland's Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen, center,
during a meeting of EU finance ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on
Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

Spain is now expected to slash its government deficit to around 5.3 percent of its GDP this year, from about 8.5 percent last year. Eurogroup chairman Jean Claude Juncker has reiterated though, that it’s of "utmost importance" that Spain cuts its deficit to under three percent of GDP by 2013.

Also on the agenda at this meeting - the European financial transaction tax and that’s one that’s proving divisive.

Germany and France want the wide-ranging tax, which would apply to the trading of stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial contracts. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has also voiced his support for the tax.

But on the other side of the fence, the UK and Sweden are the main opponents of the plan, which could raise around 57 billion euros annually. Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says the tax is a bad idea, at a while when European countries are seeking to boost growth and cut debt.

France says - we’ll give it a bit more time, for a better chance of reading an agreement.

Luxembourg's Prime Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker (C) greets
Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (R) at a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels
March 12, 2012.

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi (L) talks with Italy's Prime
Minister and Finance Minister Mario Monti at a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels March
12, 2012.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn (L-R), European Central
Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, Netherlands' Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager
and Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos attend a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels
March 12, 2012.

 

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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