CALL FOR AN AUDIT COMMISSION ON GREEK PUBLIC DEBT

3 March 2011

Economists, activists, academics and parliamentarians from across the world have supported a call to audit Greece’s public debts. The call demands the establishment of a public commission to examine the legality and legitimacy of debts with a view to dealing with them as well holding those responsible for unjust debts to account. There is widespread anger in Greece because debt has ballooned since the crisis of 2007-9. There is also belief that the debt is unsustainable and that austerity measures are forcing the poorest in society to pay for the economic problems caused by the crisis. The Greek campaign for a public audit has obvious importance for Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, and could lead to broader European action against debt.

CALL FOR AN AUDIT COMMISSION ON GREEK PUBLIC DEBT

We the undersigned believe that there is a pressing need for an Audit Commission to examine Greek public debt. Current EU and IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

http://imf.org
policy to deal with public debt has entailed major social costs for Greece. Consequently,
the Greek people have a democratic right to demand full information on public and publicly-guaranteed debt.

The aim of the Commission will be to ascertain why public debt was incurred, the terms on which it was contracted, and the uses to which borrowed funds were put. On the basis of these considerations, the Commission will make appropriate recommendations to deal with debt, including debt that is shown to be illegal, illegitimate or odious.
The purpose of the Commission will be to help Greece take all necessary measures to confront the burden of debt. The Commission will also seek to find who was responsible for problematic debt agreements.

Public and private debt is at the heart of the Eurozone crisis. The global crisis that began in 2007 took the form of a debt crisis of the periphery of the Eurozone. According to the latest government budget, Greek public debt is expected to rise from 299 billion euro (or 127% of GDP GDP
Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product is an aggregate measure of total production within a given territory equal to the sum of the gross values added. The measure is notoriously incomplete; for example it does not take into account any activity that does not enter into a commercial exchange. The GDP takes into account both the production of goods and the production of services. Economic growth is defined as the variation of the GDP from one period to another.
) in 2009 to 362 billion euro (or 159% of GDP) in 2011. The increase in public debt has heightened the danger of national default in the periphery of the Eurozone and raised
the possibility of bank failure across Europe. The EU, in conjunction with national governments, has responded through rescue programmes that have facilitated temporary borrowing by Eurozone states and protected banks. But
these measures have failed to calm financial markets and, as a result, borrowing rates have continued to rise for peripheral countries. Furthermore, the price of the programmes has been austerity. Greece, Ireland and other countries were forced to cut wages and pensions, contract public expenditure, shrink welfare provision, privatise
public enterprises, and deregulate markets. Further social costs are inevitable due to higher unemployment, business failures and loss of output.

Greece has been at the forefront of EU rescue programmes, but the Greek people have been kept in the dark regarding the composition and terms of public debt. The lack of information represents a fundamental failure of the
democratic process. The people who are called upon to bear the costs of EU programmes have a democratic right to receive full information on public debt. An Audit Commission can begin to redress this deficiency. It can also encourage the active participation of broader layers of society in movements that tackle the problem of public debt. The Commission will be international, comprising debt and fiscal auditors, legal experts, economists, representatives of labour organisations, and participants from civil society groups. It will be independent of political parties, though it will not exclude politicians from membership provided that they accept its aims. The Commission will ensure possession of expert knowledge, while guaranteeing democratic accountability and control over all involved.

To achieve its aim the Commission ought to have full access to public debt agreements and debt issues over time, including bond Bond A bond is a stake in a debt issued by a company or governmental body. The holder of the bond, the creditor, is entitled to interest and reimbursement of the principal. If the company is listed, the holder can also sell the bond on a stock-exchange. issues, bilateral, multilateral, and other forms of debt and state liabilities Liabilities The part of the balance-sheet that comprises the resources available to a company (equity provided by the partners, provisions for risks and charges, debts). . It ought to have requisite powers to place at its disposal all documents that it judges necessary to complete its work. It is also necessary to instigate appropriate procedures that would allow the Commission to call public functionaries to give evidence, as well as to examine, after a reasoned request and judicial support, bank accounts, particularly public accounts with private banks and with the Bank of Greece. Finally, a sufficient period of time ought to be made available to it to examine debt agreements and produce its report.

The case for an independent and international Audit Commission to examine Greek public debt is unanswerable. The Commission is also a democratic demand of the Greek people who are bearing the burden of the
crisis and want to know its causes. In all respects an Audit Commission for Greece could act as prototype for other countries of the Eurozone.

CALL FOR AN AUDIT COMMISSION ON GREEK PUBLIC DEBT

List of first signaturas

1. Alberto Acosta, Ex-Ministro de Energía y Minas (Ecuador), Ex-Presidente de la Asamblea Constituyente, Economista, profesor universitario

2. M. Aggelidis, Member of Local Parliament Nordrhein-Westfalen, DIE LINKE

3. Tariq Ali, Author, editor New Left Review

4. Nacho Álvarez, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

5. Samir Amin, Economist, Third World Forum, Dakar

6. P. Arestis, Economist, University of Cambridge and University of the Basque Country

7. Hugo Arias, Miembro de Comisión auditoria deuda Ecuador

8. I. Atack, International Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin

9. J. Barredo, Economist, Researcher at Universidad del País Vasco and Université de Grenoble

10. J. Baker, Associate Professor of Equality Studies and Head of School of Social Justice, University College Dublin

11. Jean Batou, Professeur d’Histoire Internationale Contemporaine, Université de Lausanne

12. Tony Benn, ex-Member of Parliament, Labour Party, UK

13. L. Bisky, Member of European Parliament, DIE LINKE, Germany, President of the GUE/NGL

14. Robin Blackburn, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex

15. L. Buendía, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

16. Mercedes Canese, Vice-Ministre des Mines, Paraguay

17. J. Castro Caldas, Economist, Centre for Social Studies, Portugal

18. C.P. Chandrashekhar, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

19. François Chesnais, Economist, Professeur Émérite de l’Université Paris-Nord

20. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (retired), MIT

21. N. Chountis, Member of European Parliament, SYRIZA, Greece, GUE/NGL

22. A.Cibils, Economist, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina

23. Thomas Coutrot, Economist, president of ATTAC France

24. J. Crotty, Economist, Emeritus Professor and Sheridan Scholar, UMASS Amherst

25. J.M. Dolivo, Député, Vaud, Suisse

26. D. De Jong, Member of European Parliament , GUE/NGL, The Netherlands

27. D.Derwin, executive member, Dublin Council of Trade Unions

28. C.Douzinas, Pro-Vice Master, Director, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

29. Gérard Duménil, Economist, ex-Directeur de Recherches au Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris X, Nanterre

30. Cédric Durand, Economist, Université Paris 13

31. G. Dymski, Economist, University of California, Riverside

32. M. Ebel, Députée, Neuchâtel, Suisse

33. G. Epstein, Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), UMASS, Amherst

34. Maria Lucia Fattorelli, Auditor, member of the audit commission of Ecuador, coordinator of Citizen Debt in Brazil

35. B.Fine, Economist, School of Oriental and African Studies

36. D.K. Foley, Leo Model Professor, New School for Social Research, External Professor, Santa Fe Institute Department of Economics

37. Pascal Franchet, Inspector of Taxes, France; CADTM

38. A. Garzón, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Pablo Olavide de Sevilla

39. L. German, Coalition of Resistance, Britain

40. Susan George, PhD, writer, Board President of the Transnational Institute

41. J. Généreux, Economist, member of the Secretariat of the Left Party France

42. J. Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

43. Corinne Gobin, Maître de recherche Université Libre Bruxelles

44. Pablo Gonzalez, Casanova Ex-rector Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

45. C.O’Grada, Professor, School of Economics, University College Dublin

46. J. Gusmão, Member of Parliament, BLOCCO DE ESQUERDA, Portugal

47. T. Hadjigeorgiou, Member of European Parliament, AKEL, Cyprus

48. D.J. Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General

49. Martha Harnecker, Sociologist, political scientist, author

50. Jean-Marie Harribey, Economist, Université Bordeaux IV, ex-president of ATTAC

51. Joe Hanlon, Visiting Senior Fellow, LSE and Open University

52. A.Hunko, Member of German Parliament, DIE LINKE, Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

53. Michel Husson, Economist, researcher at Institut d’Etudes Economiques et Sociales

54. G. Irvin, Economist, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies

55. Stéphanie Jacquemont, CADTM

56. Esther Jeffers, Economist, Université Paris VIII

57. R.Kammer, Professeur de danse classique, ex soliste à l’Opéra de Bonn, première danseuse et directrice du ballet d’Athènes

58. S. N. Keifman, Profesor Titular Regular de Economía Universidad de Buenos Aires

59. F.Keoghan, General President, Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU)

60. Pierre Khalfa, Coprésident de la fondation Copernic, France

61. P.Kirby, Director, Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS); Professor of International Politics and Public Policy, Department of Politics and Public Administration; Member, Governing Authority, University of Limerick

62. J. Klute, Member of European Parliament, DIE LINKE, Germany

63. Statis Kouvelakis, Political Scientist, King’s College, University of London

64. Jean Kregel, Economist, Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

65. Costas Lapavitsas, Economist, School of Oriental and African Studies

66. N. Lawson, Compass, UK.

67. Michael Lebowitz, Economist, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University

68. Ken Loach, Film Director

69. K.Lynch, Professor of Equality Studies, University College Dublin

70. J. Machado, Professor of Political Economy and Macroeconomics at PUC-Sao Paulo, Brasil

71. Gus Massiah, Economist, AITEC (Association Internationale de Techniciens et Chercheurs) Paris

72. Carlos Marichal, Historian, El Colegio de México

73. P. Marlière, Professor of French Studies, UCL, University of London

74. J.P. Mateo, Researcher, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

75. B. Medialdea, Economist, Professor at Universidad de Valladolid

76. J.-L. Mélenchon, Member of European Parliament, President of the Left Party (Parti de Gauche) of France

77. W. Meyer, Member of European Parliament, IZQUIERDA UNIDA, Spain

78. R. Molero, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid

79. J. Nikonoff, Economist, Université de Paris 8, ex-président ATTAC

80. O. Onaran, Economist, Middlesex University

81. C. O’Neill, Community Activist, Kilbarrack Community Development Programme, Dublin

82. S. O’Riain, Professor, Head of Department of Sociology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

83. F. O’Toole, author and journalist

84. R. Pagani, Ex-Maire de Genève

85. Pedro Paez, ex-Ministro de Economía de Ecuador

86. P. Patnaik, Economist, ex-Professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

87. M.J. Paz, Economist, Professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

88. Dominique Plihon, Economist, membre du conseil scientifique d’Attac France

89. R. Pollin, Economist, Political Economy Research Institute, UMASS Amherst

90. Miguel Portas, Member of European Parliament, BLOCCO DE ESQUERDA, GUE/NGL, Portugal

91. A.Puyana, Professor of Economics, senior researcher at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), México

92. Kunibert Raffer, Department of Economics, University of Vienna, Austria

93. M. Ransdorf, Member of European Parliament, KSCM, Czech Republic

94. J. Reis, Economist, Director of the Economics Faculty, Coimbra University, Portugal

95. S.Resnick, Economist, UMASS Amherst

96. J. Rodrigues, Economist, Centre for Social Studies, Portugal

97. Hugo Ruiz Diaz Balbuena, Docteur en Droit, Ministre Conseiller de la Présidence du Paraguay pour les Relations Internationales

98. Catherine Samary, Economist, Université Paris-Dauphine et Institut d’Etudes Européennes, Paris 8

99. A. Sanabria, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid

100. Jacques Sapir, Directeur d’étude à l’Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales et Professeur associé à la Moscow School of Economics (MSE-MGU)

101. M. Sawyer, Economist, Leeds University Business School

102. John Saxe-Fernández, Profesor/Investigador Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

103. S. Skaperdas, Economist, University of California, Irvine

104. E.Stockhammer, Professor of Economics, Kingston University

105. D.Suvin, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Emeritus, McGill University

106. Eric Toussaint, PhD Political Science, Liege University, President CADTM (Belgium)

107. Pierre Vanek, Secrétaire de solidaritéS, ancien député national suisse

108. Ivan Valente, Member of the Brazilian parliament, PSOL, initiator of the parliamentary commission to investigate debt

109. N.Villalba, Membre du Conseil Juridique international de la pPésidence de la République du Paraguay

110. J. Weeks, Economist, Professor Emeritus, School of Oriental and African Studies

111. Mark Weisbrot, Economist, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington DC

112. R. Wolff, Visiting Professor, New School University, New York City

113. Jean Ziegler, Vice-President of the Advisory Committee of the UN Council of Human Rights

114. G. Zimmer, Member of European Parliament, DIE LINKE, Germany

115. S. Zizek, Institute for Social Studies, Ljubljana

116. Olivier Besancenot, NPA, France


Translation(s)

CADTM

COMMITTEE FOR THE ABOLITION OF ILLEGITIMATE DEBT

35 rue Fabry
4000 - Liège- Belgique

00324 226 62 85
info@cadtm.org

cadtm.org