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Errors and Omissions: A glance at the European Commission’s new Communication on Policy Coherence for Development

Bodo Ellmers, Tove Ryding

14 Feb 2019 17:45:26

The European Commission has released a new Staff Working Document on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). The Commission’s report covers the first three years of the EU’s attempts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, an endeavour for which PCD is crucial. The document however unveils that the EU’s PCD framework, as complex as it might already be, continues to have severe omissions – in particular the complete neglect of the EU’s fiscal and monetary policies on sustainable development in and outside the EU. Moreover, while the Communication maps EU policies on taxation and investment, it sells some of those as positive contributions while it neglects the risks and negative impacts that EU policies in these areas have. Coherence in times of Sustainable Development ...

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Things to watch in 2019: Debt and emerging debt crises (part 2)

Bodo Ellmers

17 Jan 2019 11:57:36

Second in a two-part blog series  At the start of the New Year, the number of countries at high risk of debt distress is growing at an alarming rate. With so many crises already ongoing, and more expected to emerge over the next 12 months, it’s no surprise that the topic is high on the agenda of international organisations. But perhaps it’s not as high up as it should be in order to head off a looming crisis… Here are some of the key moments to look out for in the 2019 calendar: In March, the UN Human Rights Council will convene for its 40th session. On the agenda: adopting Guiding Principles for human rights impact assessment of economic reform programmes. These principles should ensure that future ‘reform programmes’ – i.e. adjustment programmes that creditors such as the ...

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Things to watch in 2019: Debt and emerging debt crises (part 1)

Bodo Ellmers

17 Jan 2019 11:57:23

First in a two-part blog series More than a decade after the last global financial crisis hit, the next wave of defaults is lapping at our shores. Financing conditions will become more difficult in 2019. The world’s major central banks ‘normalised’ their monetary policies last year, meaning that the times of cheap and abundant credit are over.  Both public and private actors that borrowed heavily in recent years are finding it increasingly hard and costly to refinance their sky-high debt stocks. The number of countries at high risk of debt distress is increasing. In this overview of 2019, we look at the key crises that are threatening economies around the globe, and which countries are likely to be hit hardest… An end to quantitative easing in Europe The European Central Bank ...

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G20 Summit in Buenos Aires: A non-event amidst citizen protests

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero, Tove Ryding

13 Dec 2018 16:26:12

By Bodo Ellmers, Maria José Romero and Tove Maria Ryding When the global financial crisis broke, the world looked to the G20 to find solutions. But as G20 leaders recently gathered in Buenos Aires 10 years on for their 2018 Summit, it was all too clear that ‘too big to fail banks’ have grown even bigger while we’re stuck with a vastly expanded shadow banking industry and a very worrying new wave of debt crises. Even though the G20 consider themselves to be the world’s major body for economic policy coordination, they are sleepwalking into the next crisis. Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that global debt levels have reached all-time highs and that the world economy is now even more highly leveraged than before the global financial crisis began a decade ...

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New report by Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly calls for better debt crises resolution

Bodo Ellmers

18 Oct 2018 16:19:07

Debt problems continue to burden countries on both sides of the Atlantic. Argentina has just agreed the highest ever International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan and risk premiums for Italian bonds have surged. This is the backdrop for a new report by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat – a forum that brings together 150 parliamentarians from the two regions). The report joins growing demands for better institutions to help prevent and resolve debt crises. Among the report’s recommendations, EuroLat is calling for the creation of an international debt restructuring mechanism, and a European Debt Conference to address the debt restructuring needs of a whole currency area. The EuroLat parliamentarians stress that it is their role to protect democracy and human rights – especially ...

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Financial Crisis 10 years on – How the response to the last crisis laid the foundations for the next

Bodo Ellmers

13 Sep 2018 10:12:11

This article was initially published in Eurodad member SLUG's newsletterTen years ago, on 15 September 2008, the US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. This collapse is largely seen as a key event of the North Atlantic financial crisis, which also had spillover effects on the rest of the world. Around the globe, this decade-long crisis has caused massive unemployment, as well as rising poverty and inequality. It has been used and abused to slash people’s rights – in particular the rights of workers – while the financial sector that caused the crisis has benefited from huge publicly funded bailouts. Ten years after the last crisis began, global debt levels are higher than before, and debt vulnerabilities are increasingly hard to manage. That’s why activists all over the world ...

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Argentina: 20 años después, ¿realmente han cambiado los métodos del FMI?

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero, Gino Brunswijck

02 Aug 2018 10:33:27

This is a Spanish version of the article: Argentina: 20 years on, has the IMF really changed its ways? It has been initially published at FARN website.En julio, los argentinos experimentaron un déjà vu con los anuncios del gobierno de despidos masivos y congelamiento de salarios como parte de las medidas de ajuste ligadas a un préstamo del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI). Miles de funcionarios públicos se ven obligados una vez más a asumir duras medidas de austeridad. De acuerdo con el programa del FMI se introducirán medidas selectivas de asistencia social para compensar la situación. La crisis financiera que azota el país y el retorno al Fondo traen malos recuerdos a muchos argentinos que no olvidan el año 2001, en que las políticas ...

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Argentina: 20 years on, has the IMF really changed its ways?

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero, Gino Brunswijck

24 Jul 2018 09:44:46

This article has also been published by Triple Crisis. Argentinians are experiencing deja-vu this month as the government announces massive layoffs and a hiring freeze as part of an adjustment package attached to a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Thousands of public servants are being forced yet again to swallow the bitter pill of austerity, which the IMF programme - published last Friday - aims to patch up through increased targeted social assistance. For many Argentinians the financial crisis gripping the country, and the return to the Fund, brings back bad memories of 2001. Then, IMF-induced policies triggered the worst economic meltdown in Argentinian history. A cocktail of austerity measures contributed to the contraction of economic activity with a loss of 20 % ...

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Eurozone finance ministers agree on last-minute debt reprofiling for Greece

Bodo Ellmers

26 Jun 2018 14:22:20

Eurozone finance ministers convened for a crucial Eurogroup session in Brussels on 21 June and agreed on a last-minute set of new debt reprofiling measures for Greece. The package of maturity extensions, interest deferrals and €15bn in new loans from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) means that the Greek debt stock is likely to rise further in coming years. While Eurogroup members agreed to return profits they make on Greek bond purchases to Greece, this will happen in tranches until 2022 and comes with policy conditionalities attached. Experts doubt that the package can restore debt sustainability to Greece in the long term, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided to extract itself. The case proves that an independent debt workout mechanism is urgently needed for the speedy ...