17 July > 18 July

Peoples’ Summit, Brussels, 17th-18th July 2023

New international debt crisis leaves capitalism breathless

On 17 and 18 July 2023, a Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) will be held in Brussels. At the same time, various political and social actors are organizing a Peoples’ Summit (with activites from 15 to 18 July), a mass event open to the most diverse range of views and ideas, aimed at:

  • promoting an alternative model of development, cooperation and integration that is more just, more solidarity-based and more sustainable;
  • fostering fair relations between the peoples and governments of Latin America and the Caribbean with the peoples and governments of the European Union, based on the principles of respect for international law, non-interference, sovereignty and self-determination;
  • discussing current issues;
  • sharing experiences of struggle and resistance;
  • strengthening the ties between grassroots movements, trade unions, solidarity groups, migrant communities, associations and political forces and figures of both continents.

As part of the summit, CADTM international will be holding a conference on Monday 17th July from 3pm to 5pm on the theme of debt, with speakers from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Haiti and Puerto Rico.

A new debt crisis is affecting a series of countries in the South, whether in Asia (Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.), sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Zambia, etc.), North Africa (Tunisia, Egypt, etc.), the Middle East (Lebanon, etc.), Latin America (Argentina) or the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Cuba, etc.). Some of these countries have defaulted on their debts.

The crisis is caused by a succession of external shocks that are severely affecting the economies of the South. These external shocks are the result of actions and events originating in the North. The policies of 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.

have not changed, nor have those of the World Bank 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.

. And as many countries in the South have just taken up IMF loans, they are having to apply anti-grassroots neoliberal policies to an even greater extent.


  • Eric Toussaint, CADTM international spokesperson.
  • Monica Soto Elizaga, Promotora Nacional por la Suspension de la Pago de la Deuda Pública, Mexico
  • Beverly Keene, Dialogo 2000-Jubilé Sud Argentina, Autoconvocatoria por la Suspension de la Pago e Investigación de la Deuda, Argentina
  • Julio Gambina, SEPLA and CADTM AYNA, Argentina
  • Eva Prados, Citizen’s Front for Debt Audit, Puerto Rico- Camille Chalmers, PAPDA Haiti
  • Fernanda Melchiona, Member of Parliament, sponsor of the illegitimate debt audit, Brazil
  • Andres Arauz, Ecuadorian, doctor in financial economics, former candidate for the presidency of Ecuador in 2021;
  • Andres Chiriboga, Ecuadorian, doctor in financial sociology.

Venue: VUB main campus, Bd de la Plaine 2, 1050 Ixelles (Brussels)

To register, please fill in the form here:

The Peoples’ Summit programme is available here:

Please note that the CADTM is not a co-organiser of this Peoples’ Summit.
The CADTM is organising a conference during the summit.
The list of organisations co-organising this summit is available here:


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