Call for an Audit Commission on Greek Public Debt

We the undersigned believe that there is a pressing need for an Audit Commission to examine Greek public debt.  Current EU and IMF policy to deal with public debt has entailed major social costs for Greece.  Consequently, the Greek people have a democratic right to demand full information on public and publicly-guaranteed debt.

The aim of the Commission will be to ascertain why public debt was incurred, the terms on which it was contracted, and the uses to which borrowed funds were put.  On the basis of these considerations, the Commission will make appropriate recommendations to deal with debt, including debt that is shown to be illegal, illegitimate or odious.  The purpose of the Commission will be to help Greece take all necessary measures to confront the burden of debt.  The Commission will also seek to find who was responsible for problematic debt agreements.

Public and private debt is at the heart of the Eurozone crisis.  The global crisis that began in 2007 took the form of a debt crisis of the periphery of the Eurozone.  According to the latest government budget, Greek public debt is expected to rise from 299 billion euro (or 127% of GDP) in 2009 to 362 billion euro (or 159% of GDP) in 2011.  The increase in public debt has heightened the danger of national default in the periphery of the Eurozone and raised the possibility of bank failure across Europe.  The EU, in conjunction with national governments, has responded through rescue programmes that have facilitated temporary borrowing by Eurozone states and protected banks.  But these measures have failed to calm financial markets and, as a result, borrowing rates have continued to rise for peripheral countries.  Furthermore, the price of the programmes has been austerity.  Greece, Ireland and other countries were forced to cut wages and pensions, contract public expenditure, shrink welfare provision, privatise public enterprises, and deregulate markets.  Further social costs are inevitable due to higher unemployment, business failures and loss of output.

Greece has been at the forefront of EU rescue programmes, but the Greek people have been kept in the dark regarding the composition and terms of public debt.  The lack of information represents a fundamental failure of the democratic process.  The people who are called upon to bear the costs of EU programmes have a democratic right to receive full information on public debt.

An Audit Commission can begin to redress this deficiency.  It can also encourage the active participation of broader layers of society in movements that tackle the problem of public debt.  The Commission will be international, comprising debt and fiscal auditors, legal experts, economists, representatives of labour organisations, and participants from civil society groups.  It will be independent of political parties, though it will not exclude politicians from membership provided that they accept its aims.  The Commission will ensure possession of expert knowledge, while guaranteeing democratic accountability and control over all involved.

To achieve its aim the Commission ought to have full access to public debt agreements and debt issues over time, including bond issues, bilateral, multilateral, and other forms of debt and state liabilities.  It ought to have requisite powers to place at its disposal all documents that it judges necessary to complete its work.  It is also necessary to instigate appropriate procedures that would allow the Commission to call public functionaries to give evidence, as well as to examine, after a reasoned request and judicial support, bank accounts, particularly public accounts with private banks and with the Bank of Greece.  Finally, a sufficient period of time ought to be made available to it to examine debt agreements and produce its report.

The case for an independent and international Audit Commission to examine Greek public debt is unanswerable.  The Commission is also a democratic demand of the Greek people who are bearing the burden of the crisis and want to know its causes.  In all respects an Audit Commission for Greece could act as prototype for other countries of the Eurozone.

  1. A. Acosta, Ex-Ministro de Energía y Minas (Ecuador), Ex-Presidente de la Asamblea Constituyente, Economista, profesor universitario
  2. M. Aggelidis, Member of Local Parliament Nordrhein-Westfalen, DIE LINKE
  3. T. Ali, Author, editor New Left Review
  4. N. Álvarez, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  5. S. Amin, Economist, Third World Forum, Dakar
  6. P. Arestis, Economist, University of Cambridge and University of the Basque Country
  7. H. Arias, Miembro de Comisión auditoria deuda Ecuador
  8. I. Atack, International Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin
  9. J. Barredo, Economist, Researcher at Universidad del País Vasco and Université de Grenoble
  10. J. Baker, Associate Professor of Equality Studies and Head of School of Social Justice, University College Dublin
  11. J. Batou, Professeur d’Histoire Internationale Contemporaine, Université de Lausanne
  12. T. Benn, ex-Member of Parliament, Labour Party, UK
  13. L. Bisky, Member of European Parliament, DIE LINKE, Germany, President of the GUE/NGL
  14. R. Blackburn, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex
  15. L. Buendía, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  16. M. Canese, Vice-Ministre des Mines, Paraguay
  17. J. Castro Caldas, Economist, Centre for Social Studies, Portugal
  18. C.P. Chandrashekhar, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  19. F. Chesnais, Economist, Professeur Émérite de l’Université Paris-Nord
  20. N. Chomsky, Institute Professor (retired), MIT
  21. N. Chountis, Member of European Parliament, SYRIZA, Greece, GUE/NGL
  22. A. Cibils, Economist, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina
  23. T. Coutrot, Economist, president of ATTAC France
  24. J. Crotty, Economist, Emeritus Professor and Sheridan Scholar, UMASS Amherst
  25. J.M. Dolivo, Député, Vaud, Suisse
  26. D. De Jong, Member of European Parliament , GUE/NGL, The Netherlands
  27. D. Derwin, executive member, Dublin Council of Trade Unions
  28. C. Douzinas, Pro-Vice Master, Director, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities
  29. G. Duménil, Economist, ex-Directeur de Recherches au Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris X, Nanterre
  30. C. Durand, Economist, Université Paris 13
  31. G. Dymski, Economist, University of California, Riverside
  32. M. Ebel, Députée, Neuchâtel, Suisse
  33. G. Epstein, Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), UMASS, Amherst
  34. M.L. Fattorelli, Auditor, member of the audit commission of Ecuador, coordinator of Citizen Debt in Brazil
  35. B. Fine, Economist, School of Oriental and African Studies
  36. D.K. Foley, Leo Model Professor, New School for Social Research, External Professor, Santa Fe Institute Department of Economics
  37. P. Franchet, Inspector of Taxes, France; CADTM
  38. A. Garzón, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Pablo Olavide de Sevilla
  39. L. German, Coalition of Resistance, Britain
  40. S. George, PhD, writer, Board President of the Transnational Institute
  41. J. Généreux,  Economist, member of the Secretariat of the Left Party France
  42. J. Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  43. C. Gobin, Maître de recherche Université Libre Bruxelles
  44. P. Gonzalez, Casanova Ex-rector Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  45. C. O’Grada, Professor, School of Economics, University College Dublin
  46. J. Gusmão, Member of Parliament, BLOCCO DE ESQUERDA, Portugal
  47. T. Hadjigeorgiou, Member of European Parliament, AKEL, Cyprus
  48. D.J. Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General
  49. M. Harnecker, Sociologist, political scientist, author
  50. J.M. Harribey, Economist, Université Bordeaux IV, ex-president of ATTAC
  51. J. Hanlon, Visiting Senior Fellow, LSE and Open University
  52. A. Hunko, Member of German Parliament, DIE LINKE, Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  53. M. Husson, Economist, researcher at Institut d’Etudes Economiques et Sociales
  54. G. Irvin, Economist, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies
  55. S. Jacquemont, CADTM
  56. E. Jeffers, Economist, Université Paris VIII
  57. R. Kammer, Professeur de danse classique, ex soliste à l’Opéra de Bonn, première danseuse et  directrice du ballet d’Athènes
  58. S. N. Keifman, Profesor Titular Regular de Economía Universidad de Buenos Aires
  59. F. Keoghan, General President, Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU)
  60. P. Khalfa, Coprésident de la fondation Copernic, France
  61. P. Kirby, Director, Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS); Professor of International Politics and Public Policy, Department of Politics and Public Administration; Member, Governing Authority, University of Limerick
  62. J. Klute, Member of European Parliament, DIE LINKE, Germany 
  63. S. Kouvelakis, Political Scientist, King’s College, University of London
  64. J. Kregel, Economist, Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
  65. C. Lapavitsas, Economist, School of Oriental and African Studies
  66. N. Lawson, Compass, UK
  67. M. Lebowitz, Economist, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University
  68. K. Loach, Film Director
  69. K. Lynch, Professor of Equality Studies, University College Dublin
  70. J. Machado, Professor of Political Economy and Macroeconomics at PUC-Sao Paulo, Brasil
  71. G. Massiah, Economist, AITEC (Association Internationale de Techniciens et Chercheurs) Paris
  72. C. Marichal, Historian, El Colegio de México
  73. P. Marlière, Professor of French Studies, UCL, University of London
  74. J.P. Mateo, Researcher, Universidad Complutense de Madrid 
  75. B. Medialdea, Economist, Professor at Universidad de Valladolid
  76. J.-L. Mélenchon, Member of the French Senate, President of the Left Party (Parti de Gauche) of France
  77. W. Meyer, Member of European Parliament, IZQUIERDA UNIDA, Spain
  78. R. Molero, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  79. J. Nikonoff, Economist, Université de Paris 8, ex-président ATTAC
  80. O. Onaran, Economist, Middlesex University
  81. C. O’Neill, Community Activist, Kilbarrack Community Development Programme, Dublin
  82. S. O’Riain, Professor, Head of Department of Sociology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  83. F. O’Toole, author and journalist
  84. R. Pagani, Ex-Maire de Genève
  85. P. Paez, ex-Ministro de Economía de Ecuador
  86. P. Patnaik, Economist, ex-Professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  87. M.J. Paz, Economist, Professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  88. D. Plihon, Economist,  membre du conseil scientifique d’Attac France
  89. R. Pollin, Economist, Political Economy Research Institute, UMASS Amherst
  90. M. Portas, Member of European Parliament, BLOCCO DE ESQUERDA, GUE/NGL, Portugal
  91. A. Puyana, Professor of Economics, senior researcher at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), México
  92. K. Raffer, Department of Economics, University of Vienna, Austria
  93. M. Ransdorf, Member of European Parliament, KSCM, Czech Republic
  94. J. Reis, Economist, Director of the Economics Faculty, Coimbra University, Portugal
  95. S. Resnick, Economist, UMASS Amherst
  96. J. Rodrigues, Economist, Centre for Social Studies, Portugal
  97. H. Ruiz Diaz Balbuena, Docteur en Droit, Ministre Conseiller de la Présidence du Paraguay   pour les Relations Internationales
  98. C. Samary, Economist, Université Paris-Dauphine et Institut d’Etudes Européennes, Paris 8
  99. A. Sanabria, Economist, Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  100. J. Sapir, Directeur d’étude à l’Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales et Professeur associé à la Moscow School of Economics (MSE-MGU)
  101. M. Sawyer, Economist, Leeds University Business School
  102. J. Saxe-Fernández, Profesor/Investigador Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  103. S. Skaperdas, Economist, University of California, Irvine
  104. E. Stockhammer, Professor of Economics, Kingston University
  105. D. Suvin, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Emeritus, McGill University
  106. E. Toussaint, PhD Political Science, Liege University, President CADTM (Belgium)
  107. P. Vanek, Secrétaire de solidaritéS, ancien député national suisse
  108. I. Valente, Member of the Brazilian parliament, PSOL, initiator of the parliamentary commission to investigate debt
  109. N. Villalba, Membre du Conseil Juridique international de la pPésidence de la République       du Paraguay
  110. J. Weeks, Economist, Professor Emeritus, School of Oriental and African Studies
  111. M. Weisbrot, Economist, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington DC
  112. R. Wolff, Visiting Professor, New School University, New York City
  113. J. Ziegler, Vice-President of the Advisory Committee of the UN Council of Human Rights
  114. G. Zimmer, Member of European Parliament, DIE LINKE, Germany
  115. S. Zizek, Institute for Social Studies, Ljubljana

For more information, visit <>.

| Print