by Eric Toussaint
(6 April 2015):
For the first time in Europe a committee for an audit of the debt (with citizens’ participation) was set up under the auspices of a parliament. On Saturday 4 April the president of the Hellenic parliament Zoe Konstantopoulou opened the first official session creating a debt audit committee , also called committee for the truth about the debt.
Zoe Konstantopoulou read the decree establishing the said committee consisting of Greek and foreign members and defined its essential mission, namely identifying what part of the Greek debt is illegal, illegitimate, odious or unsustainable, in other words establishing the truth about the Greek debt, providing their findings to the Hellenic parliament, the European parliament, to the national parliaments of the EU member States as well as to the Greek and international public opinion. Zoe K. recalled the suffering imposed on the Greek people by the creditors’ demands.
Next the President of the Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, made a substantial speech supporting this major initiative. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and some ten other ministers were also present.
The President of the Hellenic parliament invited MEP Sofia Sakorafa to take the floor. She recounted the five year trial of all those who demand an audit of debt so as to radically reduce it have been involved in. Éric Toussaint, Scientific Coordinator of the international team within the committee summed up some of the questions for which the auditing committee will seek answers as it investigates the Greek debt.
The following ministers spoke up in turn: the Defence Minister Panos Kammenos (who is also President of the party of Independent Greeks); the Minister for Administrative Reforms George Katrougalos; the Minister of state for the struggle against corruption Panayotis Nikoloudis; the Minister of justice Nikos Paraskevopoulos; the Minister for European affairs Nikos Chountis; deputy defence Minister Costas Isychos; Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis; the deputy Minister for culture Nikos Xydakis; the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Christos Spirtzis.
The head of the Parliamentary Budget Office Panagiotis Liargkovas and the head of the Parliamentary Scientific Service Professor Pliakos also spoke. All mentioned essential elements for a successful auditing of the Greek debt, and all committed their ministries or departments to actively supporting the project.
Afterwards three members of the auditing committee took the floor, namely Cephas Lumina, former United Nations Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights; Margot Salomon, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics, and Maria Lucia Fattorelli, former member of the committee auditing the debt of Ecuador and Coordinator of the Citizen Debt Audit-Brazil.
The whole session, that lasted from 2 p.m. to 7.45 p.m., was broadcast live on the Hellenic parliament television channel, which is steadily winning more viewers in the country. The audit committee will continue its investigation on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The Sunday session started with jurist Georges Kasamatis’ intervention. It was broadcast by the Hellenic parliament television channel:
Source of information:www.cadtm.org/4-April-2015-a-landmark-in-the