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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-06-17

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Debt Truth Committee: Greece's debt 'illegal, illegitimate and odious'
  • [02] The ball is in the Greek court, says eurozone top official

  • [01] Debt Truth Committee: Greece's debt 'illegal, illegitimate and odious'

    ANA-MPA -- The debt imposed on Greece and its residents by its creditors directly infringes on the human rights of Greeks and is "illegal, illegitimate and odious," according to the preliminary report issued on Wednesday by the Truth Committee on Public Debt. The Hellenic Parliament earlier released a six-page summary of the debt truth committee's preliminary findings during hearings conducted since April, when it was convened by Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou. This stresses that the entire adjustment programme imposed on Greece "was and remains a politically orientated programme," while challenging arguments that the policies imposed on Greece aim to improve its capacity to pay back the debt. It concluded that Greece was the victim of an "premeditated and organised" attack and of a "violent, illegal, and immoral mission" to shift private debt onto the public sector. "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," the report said. Among others, the report notes that the unsustainability of Greece's debt was evident to all involved from the outset, yet Greek authorities and other EU governments, with the assistance of the media, had "conspired against the restructuring of public debt in 2010 in order to protect financial institutions." The report is divided into nine chapters, the first of which analyses the growth of Greek debt prior to the advent of the troika, after the 1980s. This asserts that the increase in public debt was not due to excessive public spending but "extremely high rates of interest to creditors, excessive and unjustified military spending, loss of tax revenues due to illicit capital outflows, state recapitalisation of private banks, and the international imbalances created via the flaws in the design of the Monetary Union itself." Chapters 2 and 3 look at Greek public debt during 2010-2015, concluding that the first loan agreement of 2010 aimed primarily to rescue Greek and other European private banks. The 4th chapter looks at what it calls a "Debt System Mechanism" set up by the agreements implemented since May 2010, claiming that they created "a substantial amount of new debt" and generated "abusive costs" that deepened the crisis further. Chapter 5 examines the conditionalities attached to the loan agreements, claiming these "led directly to the economic unviability and unsustainability of debt." The following chapter then looks at the human rights impact of the programmes, finding that the measures directly violated rights that Greece and its partners are "obliged to respect, protect and promote under domestic, regional and international law." The legal issues associated with such violations, as well as violation of the Greek Constitution, are examined in the next chapter, which concludes that "The agreements contain abusive clauses, effectively coercing Greece to surrender significant aspects of its sovereignty," and cites a series of reasons why these agreements are rendered invalid. The next chapter assesses the debts in terms of whether they are odious, illegitimate, illegal and unsustainable, finding them guilty on all counts. Among others, it says the debt to the IMF is illegal "since its concession breached the IMF's own statutes," while those to the ECB were similarly suspect because it "over-stepped its mandate by imposing the application of macroeconomic adjustment programs via its participation in the troika." "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 report said. Debts to the EFSF are judged illegal on the grounds that they violate treaties on the functioning of the European Union, while bilateral loans are seen as illegal because "they violate the procedure provided by the Greek constitution," and illegitimate "since they were not used for the benefit of the population, but merely enabled the private creditors of Greece to be bailed out." "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," the report said. The final and 9th chapter deals with "legal foundations for repudiation and suspension of the Greek sovereign debt" presenting options for its cancellation.

    [02] The ball is in the Greek court, says eurozone top official

    EU Finance Ministers are expected to come to the conclusion at Thursday's Eurogroup that "the ball is in Greece's court," a senior eurozone official said on Wednesday.

    According to the same official, the discussion on Greece will be short at the Eurogroup and the Finance Ministers will make an evaluation of the situation based on the Greek Finance Minister's estimates.

    "Let's be realistic, the Greek programme ends in 14 days," eurozone's top official said, noting that after a possible agreement on technical basis, the procedures that must be followed in a number of national parliaments will need one week at least.

    The same sources underlined that the institutions have made huge concessions since February 20 not only on the issue of revenues and expenses but also as regards markets reform.

    He also said that the differences between the Greek government and the institutions are not only fiscal but they have to do with the tax system, the pensions and other matters. "We are interested in the sustainability of the state finances in the long-term," he added.

    Finally, he noted that a very strong convergence of views exists among the institutions and their proposals are stable and solid.


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