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Eric Toussaint’s statement after his dialogue with Dimitris Stratoulis, Greek minister of pensions
by Eric Toussaint
16 May 2015

After a visit on Friday 15th May 2015 to the Greek Ministry of pensions and a meeting with the Minister Stratoulis, here is my statement.

It is clear that there is a direct relation between the conditions imposed by the Troika and the increase in public debt. The Debt Truth Committee will produce a preliminary report in which the debt will be assessed according to whether it is legitimate or legal, because there is significant evidence that the Greek constitution as well as International Treaties guaranteeing human rights have been violated.

The committee considers that there is a direct relation between the policies imposed by creditors and the impoverishment of the living conditions of the population and the 25% decrease in GDP since 2010. For example, the public pension funds suffered a tremendous reduction due to the PSI of 2012 organized by the Troika, losing 16 or 17 billion euros from their original value of 31 billion. The revenue to the social security funds have also suffered directly due to the increase in unemployment and the reduction of wages as a consequence of the measures imposed by the Troika.

The Greek debt is not sustainable, not only from a financial perspective, since it is clear, that Greece is in essence unable to repay it, but also from a human rights perspective. Several specialist lawyers in International Law consider that Greece can declare itself in a state of necessity. According to International Law, when a country is in a state of necessity it has the possibility to suspend debt repayments unilaterally (without accumulating interest arrears) in order to guarantee to its citizens basic human rights, such as education, health, food, and pensions.

The aim of the Debt Truth Committee’s preliminary report is to strengthen the position of Greece, giving it further argumentation in its negotiations with the creditors. The Debt Truth Committee would like to arrange a public visit with journalists in order to allow the Minister to make public the direct relation between the policies imposed by the Troika and the degradation of the living conditions of major parts of the population and specifically of pensioners, who have seen their pension reduced by 40% on average during the Troika years.

As we learned from the Minster, 66% of pensioners receive a pension income of less than 700 euros, and 45% of pensioners receive a pension income below the poverty line of 660 euros a month. Personally, I, Eric Toussaint strongly criticize the demands of the creditors to impose further reductions of the subsidiary pensions, when it is clear that the previous and current policies imposed by the creditors violate the pensioner’s rights to decent revenue. Pensions should be restored.

Eric Toussaint, Scientific coordinator of the Debt Truth Committee.

Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Greece 2015: there was an alternative. London: Resistance Books / IIRE / CADTM, 2020 , Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012, etc.
See his bibliography:
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.