Intervention d’Éric Toussaint à la présentation du rapport préliminaire de la Commission de la vérité

18 juin par Eric Toussaint

Alexis Tsipras, Eric Toussaint et Zoé Konstantopoulou

La Commission pour la vérité sur la dette publique grecque présente ses premières conclusions. C’est dans ce cadre qu’Eric Toussaint, qui coordonne les travaux est intervenu aujourd’hui au Parlement hellénique. Le rapport conclut que la dette grecque est en grande partie illégale, illégitime et odieuse.

Ce rapport préliminaire présente une cartographie des problèmes et des questions clés liées à la dette publique grecque, et fait état des violations juridiques associées ; il retrace également les fondements juridiques sur lesquels peut se fonder la suspension unilatérale des paiements de la dette.

Vidéo filmée par Zin TV

Grèce : déclaration de la Présidente du Parlement au sujet des ingérences grossières dans le processus du référendum

2 juillet 2015

Déclarations de la Zoé Kostantopoulou, Présidente du Parlement au sujet des ingérences grossières dans le processus du référendum et la tentative d’en changer la question.

Cesderniers jours et ces dernières heures on a enregistré un déluge d’ingérences grossières dans le processus démocratique du référendum, proclamé pour la première fois en 41 ans depuis la fin de la dictature des colonels, à l’instigation du Premier ministre, puis sur proposition du gouvernement et décision du Parlement.

Les représentants d’hier, les co-responsables de la destruction du pays et du peuple, et leurs partenaires nationaux et étrangers, ont fait tout ce qu’ils pouvaient pour empêcher l’expression de la volonté populaire.

Pour empêcher ou annuler le référendum.

Et maintenant, puisqu’ils ont échoué dans cette tentative, ils font tout ce qu’ils peuvent pour en modifier le résultat, rendre floue et dénaturer la question très claire, en adressant au peuple un nouveau chantage :

Que soi-disant, si les citoyens disent « non », nous devrons quitter l’Union européenne ou la zone euro

Que si’ls disent « non », il n’y aura aucune nouvelle négociation

Que si ils disent « non », cela signifiera qu’ils « ne veulent pas d’aide ».

Certains, chefs d’État mais aussi représentants de la Commission et d’autres institutions et organismes, n’hésitent pas à interférer grossièrement dans les affaires internes du pays et à suggérer au peuple ce qu’il doit voter au référendum, en modifiant la vraie question.

Ce qui est important c’est non seulement ce qu’ils disent, mais qui le dit.

Le disent les représentants des gouvernements qui se sont alliés aux gouvernements qui ont détruit le pays et ont fait des échanges avec eux.

Le disent les représentants d’organisations internationales qui ont participé à des programmes catastrophiques qui ont décomposé la société et causé d’ indicibles malheurs.

Le disent des dignitaires, qui ont admis s’être trompés dans le cas de la Grèce, encore et encore.

Mais le disent aussi les représentants du système politique corrompu des anciens partis, de la corruption et des combines, ceux qui ont créé une dette illégale, honteuse et insoutenable et qui veulent la mettre sur le dos du peuple, de la jeunesse et des générations futures, sans rendre de comptes.

Le oui ne signifie pas oui à l’Europe.

Il signifie oui à l’ultimatum adressé par la Troïka au gouvernement grec.

Le oui signifie oui aux mémorandums, à la soumission et à la servitude.

Oui à des diminitutions suplémentaires des salaires et des retraites,

Oui au chômage et à la précarité de l’emploi,

Il signifie oui à l’abandon de la souveraineté et de la démocratie,

au bradage des biens publics,

à de lourds impôts sans fin.

Il signifie aussi oui à la dégradation de la Grèce de pays membre à part égale de l’UE en pays paria et en colonie de la dette.

Le non signifie non aux tactiques et pratiques antidémocratiques

Non aux chantages anti-européens et aux ultimatums

Non aux blocages artificiels

Non à l’asphyxie du peuple, avec les banques fermées

Non à l’asservissement d’États-membres par d’autres États-membres

Non à la soumission économique et politique.

Le Gouvernement s’est redressé.

Il n’a pas cédé, il n’a pas capitulé en trahissant la confiance des citoyens.

Le Parlement en 2015 a été à sa hauteur.

Il n’a pas fait loi d’État les mesures qui ont condamné de nombreuses générations à un esclavage mémorandaire.

Pour la première fois le peuple peut réellement décider de son avenir.

Pour la première fois il peut repousser lui-même, par son vote, le dernier chantage.

Pour la première fois, le peuple peut lever la tête et avec son vote, avec le non, secouer le joug des mémorandums.

Qu’il vote et se batte pour sa dignité et son avenir.

Et qu’il défende le seul gouvernement qui lui a fait confiance et lui a rendu le pouvoir qui lui appartient et qu’il défende le Parlement qu’il a lui-même élu et qui lui a rendu le pouvoir qu’il en tire et exerce en sa faveur.

Qu’il ne permette pas le renversement du gouvernement par ceux qui, depuis des mois élaborent des scénarios de déstabilisation et de détournement, pour remettre le pays et le peuple aux forces de la corruption, des combines et de la tromperie, qui ont tirer profit des mémorandums sur le dos de la société.

Et qu’il envoie le message retentissant et optimiste aussi aux autres peuples d’Europe, que la démocratie est l’affaire des hommes et des peuples, non des banques, des banquiers et des marchés.

Les « non » du peuple grec ont, dans l’Histoire, rendus fiers non seulement les Grecs, mais l’humanité toute entière.

Un tel « non » rendra fières les générations futures et défendra la véritable âme de l’Europe, qui ne se base pas sur des ultimatums et des chantages, mais sur une coexistence égalitaire, la démocratie et la solidarité. «

Zoé Kostantopoulou, Présidente du Parlement

Grèce : déclaration de la Présidente du Parlement au sujet des ingérences grossières dans le processus du référendum

2 juillet 2015

Déclarations de la Zoé Kostantopoulou, Présidente du Parlement au sujet des ingérences grossières dans le processus du référendum et la tentative d’en changer la question.

Ces derniers jours et ces dernières heures on a enregistré un déluge d’ingérences grossières dans le processus démocratique du référendum, proclamé pour la première fois en 41 ans depuis la fin de la dictature des colonels, à l’instigation du Premier ministre, puis sur proposition du gouvernement et décision du Parlement.

Les représentants d’hier, les co-responsables de la destruction du pays et du peuple, et leurs partenaires nationaux et étrangers, ont fait tout ce qu’ils pouvaient pour empêcher l’expression de la volonté populaire.

Pour empêcher ou annuler le référendum.

Et maintenant, puisqu’ils ont échoué dans cette tentative, ils font tout ce qu’ils peuvent pour en modifier le résultat, rendre floue et dénaturer la question très claire, en adressant au peuple un nouveau chantage :

Que soi-disant, si les citoyens disent « non », nous devrons quitter l’Union européenne ou la zone euro

Que si’ls disent « non », il n’y aura aucune nouvelle négociation

Que si ils disent « non », cela signifiera qu’ils « ne veulent pas d’aide ».

Certains, chefs d’État mais aussi représentants de la Commission et d’autres institutions et organismes, n’hésitent pas à interférer grossièrement dans les affaires internes du pays et à suggérer au peuple ce qu’il doit voter au référendum, en modifiant la vraie question.

Ce qui est important c’est non seulement ce qu’ils disent, mais qui le dit.

Le disent les représentants des gouvernements qui se sont alliés aux gouvernements qui ont détruit le pays et ont fait des échanges avec eux.

Le disent les représentants d’organisations internationales qui ont participé à des programmes catastrophiques qui ont décomposé la société et causé d’ indicibles malheurs.

Le disent des dignitaires, qui ont admis s’être trompés dans le cas de la Grèce, encore et encore.

Mais le disent aussi les représentants du système politique corrompu des anciens partis, de la corruption et des combines, ceux qui ont créé une dette illégale, honteuse et insoutenable et qui veulent la mettre sur le dos du peuple, de la jeunesse et des générations futures, sans rendre de comptes.

Le oui ne signifie pas oui à l’Europe.

Il signifie oui à l’ultimatum adressé par la Troïka au gouvernement grec.

Le oui signifie oui aux mémorandums, à la soumission et à la servitude.

Oui à des diminitutions suplémentaires des salaires et des retraites,

Oui au chômage et à la précarité de l’emploi,

Il signifie oui à l’abandon de la souveraineté et de la démocratie,

au bradage des biens publics,

à de lourds impôts sans fin.

Il signifie aussi oui à la dégradation de la Grèce de pays membre à part égale de l’UE en pays paria et en colonie de la dette.

Le non signifie non aux tactiques et pratiques antidémocratiques

Non aux chantages anti-européens et aux ultimatums

Non aux blocages artificiels

Non à l’asphyxie du peuple, avec les banques fermées

Non à l’asservissement d’États-membres par d’autres États-membres

Non à la soumission économique et politique.

Le Gouvernement s’est redressé.

Il n’a pas cédé, il n’a pas capitulé en trahissant la confiance des citoyens.

Le Parlement en 2015 a été à sa hauteur.

Il n’a pas fait loi d’État les mesures qui ont condamné de nombreuses générations à un esclavage mémorandaire.

Pour la première fois le peuple peut réellement décider de son avenir.

Pour la première fois il peut repousser lui-même, par son vote, le dernier chantage.

Pour la première fois, le peuple peut lever la tête et avec son vote, avec le non, secouer le joug des mémorandums.

Qu’il vote et se batte pour sa dignité et son avenir.

Et qu’il défende le seul gouvernement qui lui a fait confiance et lui a rendu le pouvoir qui lui appartient et qu’il défende le Parlement qu’il a lui-même élu et qui lui a rendu le pouvoir qu’il en tire et exerce en sa faveur.

Qu’il ne permette pas le renversement du gouvernement par ceux qui, depuis des mois élaborent des scénarios de déstabilisation et de détournement, pour remettre le pays et le peuple aux forces de la corruption, des combines et de la tromperie, qui ont tirer profit des mémorandums sur le dos de la société.

Et qu’il envoie le message retentissant et optimiste aussi aux autres peuples d’Europe, que la démocratie est l’affaire des hommes et des peuples, non des banques, des banquiers et des marchés.

Les « non » du peuple grec ont, dans l’Histoire, rendus fiers non seulement les Grecs, mais l’humanité toute entière.

Un tel « non » rendra fières les générations futures et défendra la véritable âme de l’Europe, qui ne se base pas sur des ultimatums et des chantages, mais sur une coexistence égalitaire, la démocratie et la solidarité. «

Zoé Kostantopoulou, Présidente du Parlement

Auditando Grecia

28.06.2015 Redacción Madrid
Auditando Grecia

¿Hay salida en el laberinto de la deuda?. Ésta es la pregunta a la que tratarán de responder distintos especialistas, de diferentes países, el próximo 2 de julio, a las 19 horas, en el Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid.

Es un acto más de apoyo al pueblo griego y la preocupante situación por la que está pasando, ante la presión de la Comisión Europea, el Banco Centra Europeo y el Fondo Monetario Internacional, para que acepte mayores recortes sociales a cambio de seguir negociando la deuda.

Estas medidas no han sido aceptadas por el gobierno Heleno, quien ha convocado para el domingo 5 de julio un referendum, en el cual el pueblo griego decidirá si acepta las condiciones indignas que le son impuestas desde Bruselas o dirá no, teniendo que salir supuestamente de la zona euro y asumiendo un futuro incierto.

Pero la Comisión Europea después de lanzar un órdago al gobierno griego, hoy domingo ha vuelto a invitar a sentarse a Tsipras, y sigue buscando soluciones ya que tiene muchos intereses en juego.

 

https://www.pressenza.com/es/2015/06/auditando-a-grecia/

Executive Summary of the report from the Debt Truth Committee

Προκαταρκτική Έκθεση της Επιτροπής Αλήθειας Δημοσίου Χρέους, 17 Ιουνίου, 201517 June by Greek  Debt Truth Committee

In June 2015 Greece stands at a crossroad of choosing between furthering the failed macroeconomic adjustment programmes imposed by the creditors or making a real change to break the chains of debt. Five years since the economic adjustment programmes began, the country remains deeply cemented in an economic, social, democratic and ecological crisis. The black box of debt has remained closed, and until now no authority, Greek or international, has sought to bring to light the truth about how and why Greece was subjected to the Troika regime. The debt, in whose name nothing has been spared, remains the rule through which neoliberal adjustment is imposed, and the deepest and longest recession experienced in Europe during peacetime.

There is an immediate need and social responsibility to address a range of legal, social and economic issues that demand proper consideration. In response, the Hellenic Parliament established the Truth Committee on Public Debt in April 2015, mandating the investigation into the creation and growth of public debt, the way and reasons for which debt was contracted, and the impact that the conditionalities attached to the loans have had on the economy and the population. The Truth Committee has a mandate to raise awareness of issues pertaining to the Greek debt, both domestically and internationally, and to formulate arguments and options concerning the cancellation of the debt.

The research of the Committee presented in this preliminary report sheds light on the fact that the entire adjustment programme, to which Greece has been subjugated, was and remains a politically orientated programme. The technical exercise surrounding macroeconomic variables and debt projections, figures directly relating to people’s lives and livelihoods, has enabled discussions around the debt to remain at a technical level mainly revolving around the argument that the policies imposed on Greece will improve its capacity to pay the debt back. The facts presented in this report challenge this argument.

All the evidence we present in this report shows that Greece not only does not have the ability to pay this debt, but also should not pay this debt first and foremost because the debt emerging from the Troika’s arrangements is a direct infringement on the fundamental human rights of the residents of Greece. Hence, we came to the conclusion that Greece should not pay this debt because it is illegal, illegitimate, and odious.

It has also come to the understanding of the Committee that the unsustainability of the Greek public debt was evident from the outset to the international creditors, the Greek authorities, and the corporate media. Yet, the Greek authorities, together with some other governments in the EU, conspired against the restructuring of public debt in 2010 in order to protect financial institutions. The corporate media hid the truth from the public by depicting a situation in which the bailout was argued to benefit Greece, whilst spinning a narrative intended to portray the population as deservers of their own wrongdoings.

Bailout funds provided in both programmes of 2010 and 2012 have been externally managed through complicated schemes, preventing any fiscal autonomy. The use of the bailout money is strictly dictated by the creditors, and so, it is revealing that less than 10% of these funds have been destined to the government’s current expenditure.

This preliminary report presents a primary mapping out of the key problems and issues associated with the public debt, and notes key legal violations associated with the contracting of the debt; it also traces out the legal foundations, on which unilateral suspension of the debt payments can be based. The findings are presented in nine chapters structured as follows:


Chapter 1, Debt before the Troika
, analyses the growth of the Greek public debt since the 1980s. It concludes that the increase in debt was not due to excessive public spending, which in fact remained lower than the public spending of other Eurozone countries, but rather due to the payment of extremely high rates of interest to creditors, excessive and unjustified military spending, loss of tax revenues due to illicit capital outflows, state recapitalization of private banks, and the international imbalances created via the flaws in the design of the Monetary Union itself.

Adopting the euro led to a drastic increase of private debt in Greece to which major European private banks as well as the Greek banks were exposed. A growing banking crisis contributed to the Greek sovereign debt crisis. George Papandreou’s government helped to present the elements of a banking crisis as a sovereign debt crisis in 2009 by emphasizing and boosting the public deficit and debt.


Chapter 2, Evolution of Greek public debt during 2010-2015
, concludes that the first loan agreement of 2010, aimed primarily to rescue the Greek and other European private banks, and to allow the banks to reduce their exposure to Greek government bonds.


Chapter 3, Greek public debt by creditor in 2015
, presents the contentious nature of Greece’s current debt, delineating the loans’ key characteristics, which are further analysed in Chapter 8.


Chapter 4, Debt System Mechanism in Greece
reveals the mechanisms devised by the agreements that were implemented since May 2010. They created a substantial amount of new debt to bilateral creditors and the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), whilst generating abusive costs thus deepening the crisis further. The mechanisms disclose how the majority of borrowed funds were transferred directly to financial institutions. Rather than benefitting Greece, they have accelerated the privatization process, through the use of financial instruments.


Chapter 5, Conditionalities against sustainability
, presents how the creditors imposed intrusive conditionalities attached to the loan agreements, which led directly to the economic unviability and unsustainability of debt. These conditionalities, on which the creditors still insist, have not only contributed to lower GDP as well as higher public borrowing, hence a higher public debt/GDP making Greece’s debt more unsustainable, but also engineered dramatic changes in the society, and caused a humanitarian crisis. The Greek public debt can be considered as totally unsustainable at present.


Chapter 6, Impact of the “bailout programmes” on human rights
, concludes that the measures implemented under the “bailout programmes” have directly affected living conditions of the people and violated human rights, which Greece and its partners are obliged to respect, protect and promote under domestic, regional and international law. The drastic adjustments, imposed on the Greek economy and society as a whole, have brought about a rapid deterioration of living standards, and remain incompatible with social justice, social cohesion, democracy and human rights.


Chapter 7, Legal issues surrounding the MOU and Loan Agreements
, argues there has been a breach of human rights obligations on the part of Greece itself and the lenders, that is the Euro Area (Lender) Member States, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, who imposed these measures on Greece. All these actors failed to assess the human rights violations as an outcome of the policies they obliged Greece to pursue, and also directly violated the Greek constitution by effectively stripping Greece of most of its sovereign rights. The agreements contain abusive clauses, effectively coercing Greece to surrender significant aspects of its sovereignty. This is imprinted in the choice of the English law as governing law for those agreements, which facilitated the circumvention of the Greek Constitution and international human rights obligations. Conflicts with human rights and customary obligations, several indications of contracting parties acting in bad faith, which together with the unconscionable character of the agreements, render these agreements invalid.


Chapter 8, Assessment of the Debts as regards illegtimacy, odiousness, illegality, and unsustainability
, provides an assessment of the Greek public debt according to the definitions regarding illegitimate, odious, illegal, and unsustainable debt adopted by the Committee.

Chapter 8 concludes that the Greek public debt as of June 2015 is unsustainable, since Greece is currently unable to service its debt without seriously impairing its capacity to fulfill its basic human rights obligations. Furthermore, for each creditor, the report provides evidence of indicative cases of illegal, illegitimate and odious debts.


Debt to the IMF
should be considered illegal since its concession breached the IMF’s own statutes, and its conditions breached the Greek Constitution, international customary law, and treaties to which Greece is a party. It is also illegitimate, since conditions included policy prescriptions that infringed human rights obligations. Finally, it is odious since the IMF knew that the imposed measures were undemocratic, ineffective, and would lead to serious violations of socio-economic rights.


Debts to the ECB
should be considered illegal since the ECB over-stepped its mandate by imposing the application of macroeconomic adjustment programs (e.g. labour market deregulation) via its participation in the Troïka. Debts to the ECB are also illegitimate and odious, since the principal raison d’etre of the Securities Market Programme (SMP) was to serve the interests of the financial institutions, allowing the major European and Greek private banks to dispose of their Greek bonds.


The EFSF engages in cash-less loans which should be considered illegal
because Article 122(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) was violated, and further they breach several socio-economic rights and civil liberties. Moreover, the EFSF Framework Agreement 2010 and the Master Financial Assistance Agreement of 2012 contain several abusive clauses revealing clear misconduct on the part of the lender. The EFSF also acts against democratic principles, rendering these particular debts illegitimate and odious.


The bilateral loans
should be considered illegal since they violate the procedure provided by the Greek constitution. The loans involved clear misconduct by the lenders, and had conditions that contravened law or public policy. Both EU law and international law were breached in order to sideline human rights in the design of the macroeconomic programmes. The bilateral loans are furthermore illegitimate, since they were not used for the benefit of the population, but merely enabled the private creditors of Greece to be bailed out. Finally, the bilateral loans are odious since the lender states and the European Commission knew of potential violations, but in 2010 and 2012 avoided to assess the human rights impacts of the macroeconomic adjustment and fiscal consolidation that were the conditions for the loans.


The debt to private creditors
should be considered illegal because private banks conducted themselves irresponsibly before the Troika came into being, failing to observe due diligence, while some private creditors such as hedge funds also acted in bad faith. Parts of the debts to private banks and hedge funds are illegitimate for the same reasons that they are illegal; furthermore, Greek banks were illegitimately recapitalized by tax-payers. Debts to private banks and hedge funds are odious, since major private creditors were aware that these debts were not incurred in the best interests of the population but rather for their own benefit.
The report comes to a close with some practical considerations. Chapter 9, Legal foundations for repudiation and suspension of the Greek sovereign debt, presents the options concerning the cancellation of debt, and especially the conditions under which a sovereign state can exercise the right to unilateral act of repudiation or suspension of the payment of debt under international law.

Several legal arguments permit a State to unilaterally repudiate its illegal, odious, and illegitimate debt. In the Greek case, such a unilateral act may be based on the following arguments: the bad faith of the creditors that pushed Greece to violate national law and international obligations related to human rights; preeminence of human rights over agreements such as those signed by previous governments with creditors or the Troika; coercion; unfair terms flagrantly violating Greek sovereignty and violating the Constitution; and finally, the right recognized in international law for a State to take countermeasures against illegal acts by its creditors , which purposefully damage its fiscal sovereignty, oblige it to assume odious, illegal and illegitimate debt, violate economic self-determination and fundamental human rights. As far as unsustainable debt is concerned, every state is legally entitled to invoke necessity in exceptional situations in order to safeguard those essential interests threatened by a grave and imminent peril. In such a situation, the State may be dispensed from the fulfilment of those international obligations that augment the peril, as is the case with outstanding loan contracts. Finally, states have the right to declare themselves unilaterally insolvent where the servicing of their debt is unsustainable, in which case they commit no wrongful act and hence bear no liability.


People’s dignity is worth more than illegal, illegitimate, odious and unsustainable debt

Having concluded a preliminary investigation, the Committee considers that Greece has been and still is the victim of an attack premeditated and organized by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission. This violent, illegal, and immoral mission aimed exclusively at shifting private debt onto the public sector.

Making this preliminary report available to the Greek authorities and the Greek people, the Committee considers to have fulfilled the first part of its mission as defined in the decision of the President of Parliament of 4 April 2015. The Committee hopes that the report will be a useful tool for those who want to exit the destructive logic of austerity and stand up for what is endangered today: human rights, democracy, peoples’ dignity, and the future of generations to come.

In response to those who impose unjust measures, the Greek people might invoke what Thucydides mentioned about the constitution of the Athenian people: “As for the name, it is called a democracy, for the administration is run with a view to the interests of the many, not of the few” (Pericles’ Funeral Oration, in the speech from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War).

Athens : Press Conference Committee for the Truth on the Public Debt

7 May 2015 at the Greek parliament

18 May by Zoe Konstantopoulou , Eric Toussaint , Cephas Lumina , Maria Lucia Fattorelli , Yorgos Mitralias

Participants:

  • Ms. Zoe Konstantopoulou, President of the Greek Parliament and President of the Committee for the Truth on the Public Debt;
  • Mr. Éric Toussaint, Scientific Coordinator of the Committee and head of the group of international experts, historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège. He is the President of CADTM Belgium, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. A specialist in odious and illegitimate debt, he has been analysing debts which lack legal bases for many years;
  • Mr. Cephas Lumina, member of the Committee, Dr Lumina is an Extra-Ordinary Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria. He was appointed the United Nations Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights until end of May 2014. In 2013 he produced the United Nations special report on Greece and Human Rights;
  • Ms. Maria Lucia Fattorelli, member of the Committee and coordinator of the Brazilian Citizens’ Debt Audit Commission;
  • Mr. Giorgos Mitralias, member of this Committee and initiator of the appeal to support this Committee.

Summary of the presentation by Zoe Konstantopoulou

After presenting the participants Zoe Konstantopoulou described the progress the Committee, has made, during the meeting from the 4th to the 7th of May 2015 at the Greek parliament to organise the work, use and evaluate the results and to establish a work-sheet for the following phases.
She announced that government’s departments have been approached with requests for all the documents, memoranda and loan contracts necessary for the audit, all the documents have been made available, including those pertaining to judicial enquiries and the decisions that led up to accepting current memoranda. Some of these documents hold very important information as to how the debt developed, the signatures on the contracts the steps allegedly taken to manage it that actually caused its exponential increase.

The President of the Greek Parliament referred to two other enquiry procedures that will allow deeper insight into the questions raised by the Greek debt than the simple examination of the documents available from the Greek authorities. On the one hand the Committee will hear all persons that may have useful information or evidence concerning the debt. On the other, through the authority of the Hellenic parliament parliament the Committee will request information and answers from any clearly defined international organisation identified as having taken part in the creation or increase in the Greek public debt in order to bring to light any hidden intentions.

It was also announced that the Committee’s next plenary session will take place from 15 to 18 June 2015 and that a preliminary report will be made public. The Committee will then enquire more deeply to complete its mission and work towards a final report which may take until the end of the year or beyond. Finally Zoe Konstantopoulou announced that the civil society is already an active partner of this Committee. This was illustrated by the surprising reaction to the appeal for public support, which collected numerous prestigious signatures from international personalities even before the appeal was official.

Summary of the presentation by Eric Toussaint

Eric Toussaint presented the way the Committee started and intends to continue its work.
During this second plenary meeting of the Committee, which lasted three and a half days, 15 or more presentations were made by commission members that analysed the state of the Greek debt that is demanded by the creditors, each focusing on the specific aspects for which they have the charge.

We see that the Greek debt is characterised by unity of time, protagonists and action: during the 2010 – 2015 period, fourteen Eurozone countries, the ECB, the IMF and the EFSF took over control of 80% of the Greek debt and imposed on the debtor the measures that they had agreed on among themselves.

We have studied the main creditors’ demands to see if they present features pointing to illegitimate, illegal, odious or unsustainable debt. We have worked on the definitions of these terms and have come to a general agreement on these definitions.

We have examined the legal aspects of the debt. We have heard different points of view on this subject, particularly that of professor Giorgos Kassimatis, which has permitted us to identify proofs of transgressions of the Greek constitution and Greek laws, also transgressions of international law in the conditions imposed by creditors.

We have agreed on the form of the preliminary report that we intend to make public on 25 June 2015. We have outlined our work plan. A drafting committee has been set up and sub-committees will make specific contributions on each one of the items that appear in our report.

These drafts will be available from the end of May and the drafting committee will draw on them to produce the preliminary report that will be available on or around the 9 or 10 June so as to be discussed in the plenary session that will be held from the 15 to 17 June.

We have established a list of personalities to be heard. This group of personalities includes some who have taken part in the decisions that have been made and others who bring their expertise, on the effects of the decisions.

The Greek situation is specific: the creditors are not financial institutions or a large sector of the public but a limited number of parties that have imposed precise policies and measures on Greece. On top of the common nature of the parties involved there is a consistency in the method. Such unity of time, parties and measures makes it possible for this audit to achieve preliminary results more rapidly than it may have done in other cases.

Finally, Éric Toussaint brought attention to the fact that the Greek debt audit is already emulated abroad. On 28 April the Argentine parliament decided to do a debt audit over 180 days to show the results before the next elections. It is interesting to note that Argentina is a member of the G20. This demonstrates that the debt question is important throughout the World and the Greek debt audit initiative is exemplary.

Summary of the presentation by Cephas Lumina

Mr Lumina explained the potential incompatibility between managing a country’s public debt and human rights. Two kinds of conflict can arise: when a government has to choose between financing essential public services and repaying its debt or when a government is forced by creditors to implement heavy austerity measures that have deeply negative consequences on its citizens’ living conditions.

In his survey of the Greek situation in 2013 Mr Lumina could establish from several sources that the adjustment measures taken in Greece had a very high cost not just for the government and society but also in terms of taking its toll on the Greek population. Those measures involved breaches into such fundamental rights as the rights to housing, to health and to education. The Greek crisis is not just a financial issue, it is a humanitarian crisis.

He brought into the picture those human faces that are badly hit by the crisis and that he met personally. From his first day in Greece in 2013 he found out about the human crisis as he heard about a bankrupt contractor committing suicide. Next, as he visited a social clinic founded to meet the needs of migrants, he could see that it mainly cared for destitute Greek citizens; he met a former contractor who didn’t even have the bus fare he needed to get back home. He also came across a group of graduates who had lost their jobs and were homeless. Finally he mentioned a 91 year old holder of Greek bonds who was told to wait for another 30 years before he could sell them in order to live.

Auditing the debt is a move that shows the Parliament is facing its responsibility towards the Greek people. In his report on Greece he had recommended such an audit, as he had also done for Argentina where his advice has eventually been heeded too.

Setting up committees to audit public debts is consistent with UN recommendations on the necessary transparency governments owe their citizens during the course of managing their public debts. Such audits are actually a legal obligation for Member States in the euro area experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability, as is the case in Greece, according to Regulation N° 472/2013 of the European Parliament on the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance.

Mr Lumina finally responded to a press article that presented the Committee for the Truth on the Public Debt as a bunch of militant activists. The Committee bears no relation to such a definition. It is a legal obligation that is independent of any political view. Its task is to shed light on the public debt and on the human consequences of the measures taken by technocrats that manage it with no regard for the population. Its task is to make sure that the Human Rights adopted over sixty years ago are vindicated.

Summary of the presentation by Maria-Lucia Fattorelli

Maria Lucia Fattorelli indicated that she has been working with Éric Toussaint on debt issues for over twenty years. She came to Greece to bring her experience of auditing debts to the Greek members of the Committee.

We must find out how the debt was contracted then transferred from private to public creditors.
We must also examine statistical data as well as analyse all conditions and conventions underpinning debt management. We are currently collecting documents and elements that will make it possible for us to understand how the debt was contracted and why it grew out of proportion.
We must also determine the impact of the debt on the Greek economy. To achieve this we cannot be content with a legal approach. We shall also examine the macro-economic parameters that account for the increase of the debt.

My experience in auditing debts has taught me that debts are never an isolated phenomenon but are part of a system with political, economic and legal dimensions. It is important to find out whom the debt system benefited. Has the Greek economy benefited from it, or the Greek citizens?
Answering such questions is the aim to be achieved by all debt audits and also our objective in the context of the present Committee.

Summary of the presentation by Giorgos Mitralias

We have recently launched a campaign not only to support Greece and its Committee for the Truth on the Public Debt, but also to reclaim the people’s right to audit their public debt. This campaign is European as well as international. The original appeal has already been translated into 12 languages, including Arabic, and we are planning to translate it into other languages ​​as diverse as Urdu or Pashto.

We believe that millions of people in Europe and the world want to voice their rejection of the austerity policies and the debt system. The initial reactions to our campaign confirm this assumption.
The first 1,000 signatories include illustrious personalities such as Noam Chomsky as well as some of the World’s best known economists. What is particularly interesting is that these signatures are generally accompanied by comments demonstrating the signatories’ strong motivation. We plan to publish those comments to give you an idea of the massive interest generated by the campaign, to demonstrate that our opinions are widely shared around the world, and to wipe out the feeling of isolation and helplessness too many experience when faced with these harsh realities. For the past two days we have been collecting online signatures from the people in two countries (France and Belgium) and we have already collected 2,600 new signatures. Very soon a massive collection of signatures will commence in other countries.

We have great responsibilities. The signatories want more. They want concrete proposals for actions that could be undertaken together. We must be able to take the plunge.

Question-answer session with journalists

Antonopoulos – STAR TV Channel : During the ongoing negotiations our creditors laid down new drastic conditions. Technocrats are unaware of the sufferings of the common people. As we have signed agreements with them in the past and as there is state continuity, how can we free ourselves from our bonds?

Zoé Konstantopoulou: That is not exactly how things stand. The continuity of the state does not presuppose the continuation of illegal actions. This is particularly relevant when the agreements and the conduct of the signatories do not conform to national and international laws. It is precisely the Commission’s mission to find out whether these agreements and their conditions are compliant with the law, since there have been ample indications to suggest that several elements of these agreements do not conform to legal provisions.

Eric Toussaint mentioned two legal points discussed in the Committee, which can challenge the validity of the contracts: the State of Necessity (or Necessity) and the radical change of circumstances for which creditors are responsible.
According to the doctrine of Necessity, a country is not obliged to continue its debt repayment if that prevents it from fulfilling its basic obligations to the citizens. A country might indeed end up with suspending its debt repayments since international law prioritizes fundamental rights.
As for the Greek case we can additionally bring into play a radical change in circumstances attributable to creditors. Next to a problem of statistically manipulating the debt at the initial stages of the crisis, we have seen a radical change in the country’s economic situation, resulting from the creditors’ decisions (25% drop in GDP, soaring unemployment, humanitarian crisis…). In this case, we can pinpoint the direct responsibilities of the creditors and thus question the validity of the agreements.

M.L. Fattorelli: Also it is important to remember that for any debt to be legitimate there must be advantages for the country and the people concerned. In the Greek case, we notice that these advantages are not always clear. Even the opposite is true when we assess the damage caused by this debt both to the economy and the Greek society. On the other hand, Greece’s latest borrowings were mainly to protect the private interests that were widely exposed to the risks of this debt in 2010. The legitimacy of such a plan must also be examined.

Tomassis – Journalist: How hopeful can we be in the global context? The idea of ​​an audit is good. However, if the findings of the audit turn out to be embarrassing what are the chances that they will be heard and have an impact? Since we know who controls the mainstream media at the national level and what the balance of power is at the international level, isn’t this audit a mere illusion?

Zoé Konstantopoulou: The people have to be optimistic when we are taking initiatives with their interests in mind. Also we have governmental and institutional support for this Commission, while independent authorities cooperating with the Commission are involved. We expect this Commission to come up with significant and tangible results and this is not just a statement for the media. For proof, we have already expanded our initial sphere of activity, including the review of TAIPED (The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) in particular and the condition of the state assets and properties managed by it. The Marangopoulou Foundation will conduct this review.

Tzanetatos- NewPost: You indicated that a sub-committee to conduct hearings will interview people who have been involved or have suffered from the handling of the debt crisis. Will these hearings also concern the officials of the international institutions involved?

Zoé Konstantopoulou: Naturally the institutions and the interviewees from whom explanations and documents will be requested will include international institutions, their agents and any other persons concerned.

Antigoni Panelli – APE: What are your expectations from the Committee’s work and its possible outcome?

Zoé Konstantopoulou: The Committee aims to shed light on all the aspects of the debt. Thereafter it will become everyone’s responsibility to use the truths revealed. It is particularly the media’s responsibility to know how to deal with these results. After mentioning other reports (including that of the UN and the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Troika’s responsibilities) so far ignored by the media, the President of the Parliament called on the media to do its job for the results to be fully effective.

Maria-Lucia Fattorelli: We must submit a report. It is an instrument, not an opinion. Once made available it is the responsibility of the government and the society to know how to use it to change the situation of the country and its relations with the creditors.

Papayanis- Avghi (daily newspaper published by Syriza): The Committee’s work is likely to extend beyond this year. How can this be used for the ongoing negotiations with creditors?

Zoé Konstantopoulou: As long as the debt exists it can be negotiated at any time. Moreover, this audit is a legal obligation and it would be somewhat surprising if the creditors, who want to invoke all of Greece’s obligations, should refute it.

Translations and adaptations by Thanos Contargys, Suchandra De Sarkar, Mike Krolikowski and Christine Pagnoulle.

Committee for the Truth on the Greek Debt: A successful 2nd plenary session in Athens 4 to 7 May 2015

13 May by Raphael Goncalves Alves

After a first session in April most members met again for four days in order to account for their respective investigations, plan and organize what has to be done for the intermediary report to be handed in by mid-June.

Sessions took place within the Hellenic Parliament where all presentations and debates could be interpreted into the three working languages, namely Greek, English and French.

As scientific coordinator, Eric Toussaint chaired the various sessions, leading debates so as to define the next stages in the Committee’s work. The internal work sessions were complemented by a public session of introduction on Monday morning and a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The four days were presided over by Zoe Konstantopoulou, who is also President of the Parliament. She took an active part in the various work groups in spite of her many commitments. The Committee could also rely on the help provided by Georges Katrougalos, Minister for administrative reform, who was putting his bill for the reintegration of unduly laid-off civil servants to the MPs’ vote. He insisted that the Committee was supported by the whole government and the several ministries.

During the opening session Eric Toussaint recalled the twofold objective of the current audit, namely to provide the Greek government with arguments and answers towards a possible suspension or cancellation of the debt, and to sensitize and mobilize citizens in Greece and all over the world.

In this respect the international appeal launched by Giorgos Mitralias this week and aiming at supporting the Greek audit has to be mentioned
. 300 personalities signed it at once, including Noam Chomsky and Ken Loach, and it is now open to signatures at large. Giorgos had the opportunity to promote the initiative – that has already gained massive support – at the press conference on 7 May.

Report on work done and planning future work

From Monday afternoon until Wednesday morning, sessions consisted of the presentation of what the workgroups had produced. (The groups had been decided on during the first session and bring together 2 to 5 members of the Committee according to their expertise, for them to focus on parts of the investigation and of the final report. We can distinguish three approaches:

- groups working on creditors (ECB, IMF, countries that are members of the euro zone, EFSF, private creditors);
- groups on legal issues (impact of austerity policies on human rights, the legality of the agreements with the Troika, etc.);
- groups on macroeconomic issues (origins of the Greek debt, impact of austerity policies and of the Memoranda on the economy and on the sustainability of the public debt).

Each group reported on its current findings and on the preliminary conclusions it had reached. Each presentation was debated and resulted in collective decisions aiming at giving the group clear instructions for its future work. Convincing evidence of irregularities in the process through which the country contracted its debts from 2010 to 2015 has already been brought up. The intermediary report will consist of those various contributions as harmonized by a drafting committee appointed during the previous session.

The members of the Committee came to an agreement on the structure of the intermediary report. A draft plan drawn up by Eric Toussaint was amended and the final structure of the document was defined by consensus.

It was also decided that the third session of the Committee will take place in Athens between 15 and 18 June 2015. This means that the deadlines are extremely short for the members of this Committee, all of whom – around fifteen Greek and fifteen international members – are working on a volunteer basis. However, as Eric Toussaint pointed out at the closing press conference, the unity of time, of creditors, and of type will make it possible to conduct an audit of the debt more rapidly than has been the case elsewhere (with the audit of Ecuador’s debt, for example). Similarly, the report filed in June will be an intermediary report, but the work will continue thereafter in order to produce a final report that is even more documented.

Information hunters

One of the most significant debates was around the issue of the collection of official documents, a question which was raised during the presentation made by Maria Lucia Fattorelli (coordinator of the citizen audit in Brazil), co-leader of the audit’s Methodology group. The issue is that, in addition to all the documents and information gathered by the members of the Committee, the various Institutions will have to respond to the Committee’s questions if its work is to be done under proper conditions.

During these four days, several authorities have demonstrated full support for the committee, and have promised to provide assistance, in particular as regards collection of documents. An example is the visit by a delegation of the Committee to the vice-Director of the Greek Central Bank. The President of the Committee also announced that she would send the different requests that will enable the Committee to have access to all documents already in the Parliament’s possession.

Finally, in order to facilitate relations with the ministries and the various public administrations, but also to facilitate the internal organisation of the Committee’s requests, a secretariat specifically dedicated to these tasks has been set up.

In the context of information collection, the Committee will also hear a number of people whose testimony can provide information that will be useful, and even essential, to the committee’s work. Accordingly a subcommittee has been set up with the task of preparing for and conducting hearings. An initial list has been drawn up by all the members of the Committee, and the first requests to appear should be issued shortly.

Definitions are ripening

A workgroup led by Cephas Lumina, former UN rapporteur on the effects of debt on the exercise of human rights, was tasked with drafting definitions of “illegitimate”, “illegal”, “odious” and “unsustainable” debt. This was a crucial issue, since the Committee’s official mandate, among other tasks, is to identify such debts. The proposed definitions were largely accepted in substance, and consensus was reached around them after a few amendments were made. They will be presented in the preliminary report to be filed in mid-June.

This means that much work remains to be done by the Committee between now and then in order to successfully complete this historic initiative, unique in Europe, which we hope will inspire other countries and encourage other peoples to demand an audit of their public debt! Note that a parliamentary audit Committee has been launched in Argentina.

Translated by Christine Pagnoulle and Snake Arbusto

Speech by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Zoe Konstantopoulou at the inaugural session of the Truth Commission on Public Debt

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for being here today at an event that is of historic importance and marks the beginning of the repayment of a true debt: to reveal the truth and be accountable to the Greek people and society about how the debt hanging over the heads of all citizens and of the young ones in particular originated and increased / was created and has ballooned. The public debt that is being used as an instrument of blackmail and subjugation, as a tool of submission in conditions that are far removed from the ecumenical principles of democracy, equality, equity, respect for human rights and freedoms and social progress and are leading to shrinking democratic spaces, discrimination, exclusion, extreme poverty and a humanitarian crisis.

Debt is not some sort of fatality. It is the result of actions and omissions, of loan agreements with unfair conditions and baffling interest rates, of financial management measures, but also of agreements tainted by corruption that have led to debt skyrocketing and can be evidenced in a number of documents to be found in Parliament and the Court.

Debt can be questioned. As it is not controlled or codified, as it is not analysed, it begs the question: What percentage and how much is finally legitimate and how much is illegitimate, illegal and odious? In recent years, this haunting question has led those who are called upon to repay this debt to demand that, in agreement with their democratic rights, they be told how this debt came to be, what it consists of, thus making it possible for them to defend themselves, resist the obligation to repay and ask that it be written off.

The audit of public debt is not only a democratic right of citizens, it is also a sovereign right of a nation.

The audit of public debt is not only a democratic right of citizens, it is also a sovereign right of a nation.
At the same time, it is also an institutional duty of the State, even according to European Union Law. This means that it is a country’s international obligation – a favourite expression of those who talk about a country’s international obligations but only when dealing with financial obligations, while ignoring a country’s greater international obligations with respect to democracy, transparency, human rights and freedoms and everything that ensures a life worth living.

Debt is not just about profits and losses, but about human lives.
Thousands of human lives have been sacrificed in the attempt to repay this debt, millions of human lives have been bruised and crushed; today I would like to remember five human beings that belong to different generations.

  • The young girl, daughter of immigrants, a primary-school student, who lost her life in December 2013 because of toxic fumes from a makeshift fireplace in a house with no electricity where she had been living with her mother for months.
  • The young boy of 19 who died while trying to escape a ticket control in a bus in the summer of 2013.
  • The two youngsters, 20 and 21, students in Larissa, who also died due to the fumes from a fireplace.
  • And finally, Dimitris Hristoulas, the retired pharmacist who on this very day three years ago, took his own life before the monument to the Unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament, refusing an existence degraded to such an extent that he was forced to scavenge for food in the rubbish.

The Truth Commission on Public Debt owes a debt to these individuals as well.

An instrument of truth. An instrument to correct injustice.

The Truth Commission on Public Debt, created by the Hellenic Parliament, is a precious instrument at the service of society and democracy. An instrument of truth. An instrument to correct injustice. An instrument of dignity, social and democratic defence, enquiry and resistance again the choices that are killing society. An instrument of awakening for people, societies, and European leadership. An instrument of solidarity.

The fact that all those leading the State are present today, the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the ministers and deputy ministers of Parliament, representatives of judiciary as also of independent authorities, reflects the will that this audit should begin and be seen through to its very end.

The technical preparation, the experience and the interest of the men and women who have taken the time to respond to this invitation, to contribute through their knowledge and their hard work are a guarantee for success.

I would especially like to thank all those who responded to this call and the specialists and experts who came at once from abroad, as also those who have come from within Greece. I would also like to highlight the immediate support shown by specialists, like-minded individuals and social movements from all around the world, which ensures that the process begun today remains open and dynamic.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to announce Decision Number 1448 of the President of Parliament taken on April 4, 2015, which creates a Special Commission of the Hellenic Parliament to investigate the truth regarding the creation and inflation of public debt, to audit said debt and to promote international collaboration of the Parliament with the European Parliament, the Parliaments of other countries and international organizations dealing with debt, with the aim of sensitizing and stimulating society, the international community and international public opinion. This Commission will be called the Truth Commission on Public Debt. I would especially like to thank Sofia Sakorafa, who has agreed to be responsible for the relations of this Commission with the European Parliament and other national Parliaments. I would also like to express my special thanks to Éric Toussaint, who immediately accepted the task of coordinating the scientific work of the international team. My sincere thanks also to the Parliament services and especially the Parliament’s Scientific Service and Budget Bureau, who will assist the Commission in setting up the working groups. After this introduction, I would now like to call upon the Cabinet to address this inaugural session of the Truth Commission on Public Debt, the President of the Republic Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Translation from French to English: Zia Papar, in collaboration with Christine Pagnoulle

Source: CADTM.org