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Speaking to EurActiv in an exclusive interview after returning from a visit to Greece, Rasmussen said there had been "too much understatement or a wrong perception" of what the country's socialist prime minister George Papandreou was doing to tackle the crisis.
"He is doing the right thing. The problem is that the expenditure for the interest on the loans is simply too high," Rasmussen insisted, rejecting the predominant opinion of eurozone finance ministers that the Greek government is not delivering its commitments.
Rasmussen said the solution to the Greek problem lay in "retro-profiling" the debt. Under such a mechanism, a longer period of repayment would be combined with a lower interest rate under a bond swap, using a European guarantee mechanism, at no cost to Greece's European partners, he argued.
"Number 1 is that we need to have a much longer period for repayment of the Greek loans. And number 2 is that it needs to be at a lower interest rate. And number 3, it needs to be tied to a better and genuine European mechanism," he said.
Rasmussen argued that his proposal would avoid a situation in which banks that bought Greek bonds run into difficulties under one or another type of haircut. Retro-profiling Greek debt would made everyone better off, "not only Greece, but also the banks and the whole stability of the system," he said.
Asked about the fact that citizens in many countries, not only in Greece, consider the austerity measures being imposed upon them to be unfair amid a general perception that populations are paying the price for the mistakes of bankers or speculators, Rasmussen advocated putting in place a financial transactions tax (FTT) and a financial activities tax (FAT).
Both have been on the EU's agenda for a while and both are yet to come to fruition. "It was the financial institutions who made these crises. It was not ordinary people. It's time for the financial institutions now to contribute to the way out of the crisis," Rasmussen said.
The PES estimates that a tax of 0.05% on every transaction made in the EU by banks, hedge funds, private equities or investment bankers could generate up to 260 billion euros in revenue per year.