From the TUC

Join the call to drop Greece’s debt

23 Jun 2015, by Guest in International

The government of Greece is in a battle with creditors to overturn austerity policies which have wreaked havoc on the country. Unemployment has been over 20% for four years. One-third of people now live in poverty. The debt cannot be paid and, for Greece to be given a chance to fight poverty and inequality, it must not be.

Greece’s debt shot out of control after the global financial crisis of 2008. In 2010 it became clear that there was too much debt to ever be repaid. But instead of cancelling some of the debt so that reckless lenders would share in the cost of the crisis they had helped to create, more money was lent by the IMF, EU and European Central Bank. Reckless lenders and speculators got let off, taxpayers took over the risky lending, whilst the debt remained a noose around the Greek economy’s neck. Jubilee Debt Campaign has shown that more than 90% of bailout loans went to banks and other financial institutions. Meanwhile Greece had to implement austerity measures in return for the loans, which, by shrinking the economy by 25% massively increased the debt to GDP ratio.

This was exactly the same policy as tried during the Third World Debt Crisis, which affected most of the developing world during the 1980s and 1990s. Then, economies shrank, poverty increased and the debt remained. In 2010, developing country representatives on the Board of the IMF warned that the same would happen in Greece. Unfortunately, this is exactly what has come to pass.

Since being elected in January 2015, the Syriza government in Greece has sought to challenge the policies that have created this situation, and restore collective bargaining, minimum wages and national pride. But the people of Greece need the support of others in Europe too.

Over 40 groups from across Europe are calling for Greece’s debt to be cancelled, an end to enforced austerity measures and new UN rules to prevent failed bailouts happening again. The European Trade Union Confederation last week reiterated its call for debt restructuring.

In 1953, governments across the world, including that of Greece, agreed to cancel half of Germany’s debt to help the country recover from the Second World War. Crucially, the payments on the remainder of the debt were linked to how much Germany made from the rest of the world, creating an incentive to trade. The agreement helped with both Germany and Europe’s recovery.

The same such coordinated action is needed now to help Greece and the wider European economy out of seven years of crisis since the credit crunch began. Unfortunately many European governments have not shown the same leadership as in 1953. However, the people of Europe are challenging the status quo from Greece to Spain, demanding an end to austerity and new approach to the economy.

Please stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and sign the petition to drop Greece’s debt.

2 Responses to Join the call to drop Greece’s debt

  1. Piet Krijgsheld
    Jun 24th 2015, 11:08 am

    Do we want to be 1 Union and help out where needed or is the Union meant for something else?

  2. Tony Hart
    Jun 26th 2015, 4:23 pm

    If we did decide to drop Greece’s debts, would we ever lend money to Greece again?