18 November 2015 > 21 November 2015


Debt common project for Europe

Following the spirit of the Conferences of the Plan B for Europe, the Observatori del Deute en la Globalització (ODG) and the Plataforma por la Auditoría Ciudadana de la Deuda (PACD) , toghether with international partner organizations and with collaboration of the City Council of Barcelona, organize in Barcelona the cicle of workshops and debates “Debt Common Project for Europe” between Wednesday 18 and Saturday 21 of November. These sessions will gather entities, experts and activists that work for debt justice and against the use of finance as a means for political control, with the aim of generating debates that translate into the elaboration of common strategies.

The sessions will welcome activists and experts of all around the world, like Bodo Ellmers, one of the authors of the Resolution of the UN on the Basic Principles for Debt Restructuring; Sargon Nissan, economist of the Bretton Woods Project, organization that does a critical assessment of the policies enforced by the 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.

and the WB World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

; Jihen Chandoul, economist of the Observatory of the Economy of Tunisse; Éric Toussaint, Speaker of the Comittee for the Abolition of Third Word Debt and scientific coordinator of the Debt Truth Comittee on the Greek Debt ; Carlos Sánchez Mato finance Councilor of the City of Madrid, who has started a debt audit process in Madrid, together with the social movements; and Zoe Konstantopoulou, fomer Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, organizer of the Debt Truth Comittee on the Greek Debt and promoter of the Plan B for Europe.


Wednesday 18 November 9:30-18:00
Location: Federació Catalana d’ONGs
Map: Street Tàpies, 1 - https://goo.gl/maps/8Lyb38U3MLt
Language: English

9:30-11:30 Public-Private Partnerships: Experiences

Presentations and open discussions (In English with translation to Spanish). Guest speakers:
- Changing institutional landscape - Maria Jose Romero, Eurodad Belgium.
- PPPs in the MENA region, active institutions - Jihen Chandoul, Observatoire Tunisien de l’Economie.
- PPPs and Education - Dr. Antoni Verger, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
- PPPs in Africa and active multilateral institutions - Fanwell Bokosi, Afrodad.
- The relevance of debt and economic and financial stability - Tim Jones, Jubilee Debt Campaign UK.
- The new role of institutions and the PPPs - Rayyan Hassan, NGO Forum on the Asian Development Bank (TBC).

14:00-16:00 The next debt crisis: The new debt challenges in different regions

- Overview - Tim Jones, Jubilee Debt Campaign.
- Africa/LIC - Fanwell Bokosi, Afrodad.
- MENA - Jihen Chandoul, Observatoire Tunisien de l’Economie.
- Europe - Sergi Cutillas, ODG.
- SIDS - Kristina Rehbein, Jubilee Debt Campaign Germany.

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:00 Key institutional reform processes

- Debt workout mechanisms - Bodo Ellmers, Eurodad.
- Responsible Lending and Borrowing - Maren Hemsett, Debt Justice Norway.
- Vulture funds Vulture funds
Vulture fund
Investment funds who buy, on the secondary markets and at a significant discount, bonds once emitted by countries that are having repayment difficulties, from investors who prefer to cut their losses and take what price they can get in order to unload the risk from their books. The Vulture Funds then pursue the issuing country for the full amount of the debt they have purchased, not hesitating to seek decisions before, usually, British or US courts where the law is favourable to creditors.
legislation (Antonio Gambini)
- UN and IFI processes - FfD/SDG/sovereign debt Sovereign debt Government debts or debts guaranteed by the government. restructurings - Manuel Montes, Freedom for Debt Coalition.

Friday 20 November 9.30-10:30 Press Conference and Coffee with journalists

Location: Civic Center of Pati Llimona
Map: Street Regomir, 3 - https://goo.gl/maps/ncqFT2zhFTo
Language: English (with translation to Spanish)

Debt crises; state of affairs and presentation of proposals for a Debt Common Project for Europe

- Bodo Ellmers, Eurodad.
- Sargon Nissan, Bretton Woods Project.
- Maeve Bateman, Debt & Development Coalition.
- Emma Avilés, Plataforma Auditoría Ciudadana de la Deuda (PACD).

Saturday 21 November 17:00-19:00

Location: MACBA (Museu of Contemporary Art of Barcelona)
Map: Plaça dels Àngels, 1 - https://goo.gl/maps/mGWUBCw7eyt
Language: English (with translation to Spanish)

Debt Illegitimacy and Debt Audits as a proposal to Democratize Europe.

- Debt audits as a proposal to democratize Europe - Éric Toussaint, Comittee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADMT)
- The Citizen Audit of Madrid - Carlos Sánchez Mato, Finance Councilor of Madrid
- Debt Truth Comittee on the Public Debt of Greece - Zoe Konstantopoulou, former Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament
- Auditing Barcelona, proposals and experiences so far - Gerardo Pisarello, vice Mayor of Barcelona.
- Citizen Participation and Debt Audits in Spain and Catalonia - Jezabel Goudinoff, Plataforma Auditoría Ciudadana de la Deuda (PACD)

Coming up



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