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Package of common demands on debt and the need for citizens’ control on finance at European level - Executive summar
by CADTM , Collective
3 August 2020

This document was written collectively by activists from nearly fifteen collectives and organizations across Europe. It has been signed, in whole or in part, by 39 organizations from 10 European countries. It presents their shared findings and common demands on the issue of public and private debt and on the need to establish effective citizen control, both over the means of State financing and the management of public funds, and over banks and other institutions providing credit to households and businesses.

This document has been published in the context of the beginning of the 2019-2024 European institutions’ term. It aims to present the shared findings and common demands of some collectives and organizations across Europe on the issue of public and private debt and the need for real citizen control, both on the means for providing finance to States and the management of public funds, and on banks and other credit institutions.

The current strategies of budget cuts, privatization and deregulation benefit only a handful of players at the expense of all the others and have not made it possible for the economies they claim to help to “recover”, quite the contrary. Moreover, almost nothing has been done either to regulate the banking and finance sector or to clean up the market for private and sovereign debt. The inflation of the private debt bubble by the ECB’s policy combined with the weakening of public finances is leading us straight to a new financial crisis.

The consequences of illegitimate debts held by European holders of capital and states are felt worldwide, both in peripheral European countries (intra- and extra-EU) and in countries of the global South. Everywhere the aggravation of neoliberal policies, under the pretext of the repayment of public debt, is severely degrading people’s living conditions and environment and is forcing an ever increasing number of people into debt to live with dignity and have access to basic services.

It is to face these challenges that the collectives and organizations that have signed this package of demands are organizing themselves. This package is intended for any person or organization wishing to use it and join its demands. It is also addressed to political representatives who would like to work in the interest of citizens, whether at the various national or European levels. It is not a programme in itself but a common ground, a consensual basis for the collectives and organizations that contributed to its drafting, those who signed it and all the others who will come upon it, to develop their own awareness-raising tools, their own arguments and demands, while being able to rely on the legitimacy it has as a result of its collective writing.

Executive summary
1. Socializing banks and recognizing their responsibility for the crisis
2. Put an end to EU practices favoring banks and corporations
a. Stopping Member-states funding through the financial markets, to the benefit of financial institutions
b. Put an end to accounting rules that stifle local investment in favor of public-private partnerships (PPP)
c. Protecting social rights by rescinding European budgetary mechanisms that impose austerity and neoliberalism
d. Burying EU directives aiming to speed up centralization of economic and financial power
3. Stopping tax avoidance and tax giveaways, major causes of an increase in public debt
4. Fighting the actors of financialization and prohibiting profit on illegitimate private and public debt
5. Canceling illegitimate public debt, a tool of class and geopolitical domination
a. Against the domination of governments in the Center of the EU over Peripheral European countries within the EU and on countries applying to join
b. Against the domination of the rich EU countries on Southern non-European countries
c. Against the domination of capital holders over the people, both in the Centers and in the Peripheries
6. Fighting debt, beyond economic and financial consequences
a. Against gender inequalities
b. Against the destruction of the environment
c. For migrant justice
d. For democracy