3 January 2016
On 22 December 2015, during a press conference at the seat of the Bar Association in Athens, the former President of the Greek Parliament, Zoe Konstantopoulou, and two members of the Truth Committee on Greek Public Debt, Georges Kassimatis, an honorary professor in constitutional law and Leonidas Vatikiotis, an economist and journalist, presented the Committee’s achievements since 20 September 2015, its activity on the international scene and its forthcoming actions.
Zoe Konstantopoulou condemned the attacks directed at the Truth Committee by the current government. She mentioned the coup-like deletion of the preliminary report from the Parliament’s website and the manner in which the end of the Committee’s work was announced. She further denounced the fact that the Committee’s office, and indeed her own office, had been broken into on an order of the current President of the Greek Parliament, Nikos Voutsis. She said she had filed a law-suit in this regard.
She said, ‘the Truth Committee on the Greek Public Debt is the victim of a political witch-hunt led by the new supporters of the memoranda’, and added that the current government, having decided to adhere to the memoranda, is resorting to unprecedented acts of intimidation and authoritarianism. She also referred to the ironic comments recently uttered by the Prime Minister in Parliament on the odious and illegitimate nature of the debt.
The former President of the Greek Parliament described the international presence of the Committee, such as the presentation of its reports in the context of international conferences and of academic institutions: she has participated in international conferences in Brussels, Barcelona, London and Paris, and was the main guest speaker at events organized by the university of Columbia (New York) and by the London School of Economics (London). Ms Konstantopoulou mentioned that at all of those meetings the Committee’s reports had been handed out and that similar initiatives and requests for debt audits had already been recorded in countries such as Argentina, Spain, Tunisia, France and the United Kingdom.
Finally she mentioned the Committee’s meeting with the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, who gave a press conference on 8 December 2015 and underlined how important it was that such a Committee should have been established, how essential its findings were, and how necessary it was to carry out the audit and to cut public debt so that the rights of citizens be respected.
As to the future of the Debt Truth Committee, Zoe Konstantopoulou announced that a venue had been found where the Committee’s meetings could take place, since Giannis Mavros, son of veteran politician Georgios Mavros, had said the Committee was free to make use of his father’s office. She also said the Committee was about to acquire new legal status so as to continue its work without being disrupted by the current government’s hostility.
Translated from Greek into French by Eleni Panoussi and Marie-Laure Veilhan, and from French into English by Vicki Briault and Christine Pagnoulle.