Legal Brief Prepared for the Special Committee of the Hellenic Parliament on the Audit of the Greek Debt (Debt Truth Committee)

Economic Policy Conditionality, Socio-Economic Rights and International Legal Responsibility : The Case of Greece 2010-2015

13 July 2015 by Olivier De Schutter , Margot E. Salomon

Abstract : This legal brief was prepared at the invitation of the Speaker of the Greek Parliament to inform the work of the Special Committee of the Hellenic Parliament on the Audit of the Greek Debt (Debt Truth Committee). It addresses key legal issues raised by the Memoranda of Understanding concluded by Greece in 2010 and 2012 that made the conditions for access to loans contingent upon the implementation of a range of measures aimed at fiscal consolidation. The brief systematically considers the international responsibility of the various creditors involved in the ensuing Greek social rights crisis. The economic arrangements that brought to bear the human catastrophe involved States, international organizations and other actors functioning in various formations. The authors unpack the actors and vehicles through which the conditionalities were imposed with the aim of determining legal responsibility for the human rights violations that have come to pass. To this end, the brief addresses: the Euro Area Member States, the European Commission, the European Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

, the Council of the European Union, the EU Member States, the International Monetary Fund 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.
, the Members States of the IMF, and Greece.


Olivier De Schutter

PhD Centre for Philosophy of Law and Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Legal Sciences University of Louvain


Margot E. Salomon

PhD Centre for the Study of Human Rights and Law Department London School of Economics and Political Science



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