While the official sector continued its muddling through strategy for the Eurozone crisis, debt networks from all parts of the world engaged governments into various debates on a fair and comprehensive debt workout mechanism during the World Bank & IMF Annual Meetings in Tokyo early October.
At a panel with ministers from Argentina and Norway as well as high-level representatives from the German treasury and UNCTAD, governments re-iterated their commitment to reform existing procedures. The next day another panel organized by the UN and a Canadian think tank, revealed a surprising appetite for reform even on the part of the private sector. In fact: except for speculators and vulture funds not many can have a genuine interest in seeing the world stumble equally unprepared into the next crisis, as it did into the present one.
The Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF are certainly not the place to actually design a reform process, which would necessarily curtail both institutions’ problematic role in sovereign debt management. However, they continue to be an excellent venue for broad-based discussions and the building of alliances that are necessary, if a substantial reform is not only to be talked about, but actually implemented.
Extensive reports on the Annual Meetings as a whole and particularly the debt related events can be found on EURODAD’s and Bretton Woods Project’s websites.
The Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign has lent its support to a protest taking place today at the European Central Bank (ECB) by Irish groups and individuals demanding debt justice.
Campaign spokesperson Andy Storey said that the protest was especially timely as the German government has just told the Irish government there will be no deal on the Anglo debt after the ‘yes’ vote in the fiscal treaty referendum.
“Once again, the government has been told that being ‘Mister Nice Guy’ gets you nowhere – unless the Irish government stands up for itself and suspends the repayment of the promissory notes arising from the debts of Anglo Irish Bank
they will make no progress on this issue”, he said.
Representatives from a number of Irish organisations, including the Ballyhea/Charleville bondholder bailout protest group, travelled to Frankfurt to take their demands directly to Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, during that body’s governing council meeting. These demands include the immediate destruction of all remaining promissory notes and the refunding of the two promissory notes already paid, which have cost Ireland over €6 billion.
Nessa Ni Chasaide, also of the Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign, said that “civil society has to take its message directly to Europe because it seems the Irish government will not – the time for begging for favours is long passed, this is the time to demand justice, including the writing down of illegitimate debt”.
Read the full statement “nailed” to the door of the ECB here