Home > Centre for the Study of Human Rights > Events > 2016 > All debts are equal? The law and ethics of sovereign debt restructurings in Greece, Germany and Europe

All debts are equal? The law and ethics of sovereign debt restructurings in Greece, Germany and Europe

Speaker: Dr Matthias GoldmannGoldmanncropped
Chair: Dr Margot Salomon 
Date: Thursday 5 May 2016, 6.30pm-8.00pm
Venue: 32L.B.07 (32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Room B.07)

This is a LAB and LSE Law event.

The talk analyses the legal and ethical concepts underlying debt restructurings in Europe in different periods over the last one hundred years. In this perspective, the sovereign debt bailouts of 2010-2015 resemble a model of commutative justice that was dominant during the interwar period. This marks a turn away from the more solidary debt restructurings of the post-war period characterized by heightened concerns for distributive justice. The latter model, of which Germany’s 1953 debt restructuring represents the most prominent example, can be identified by four distinct criteria. Given that at least two of the four criteria have not been met in the case of Greece, it is small wonder that the Greek government reopened the issue of German reparations in the course of the 2015 crisis. If Germany wants to avoid the reparation issue, it would be well-advised to return to the post-war model and take the lessons of its 1953 debt restructuring more seriously. The EU treaties allow  continuing with the post-war model, including the granting of debt relief, whether on the part of the ESM, other member states, or even the ECB. Whichever approach the European Union and the Eurozone chooses might indicate how well-prepared it is to tackle other imminent economic, political and humanitarian crises.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEsovereigndebt 

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