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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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Reporting debt relief as ODA: civil society shut out, bad rules to be locked in?

Polly Meeks

21 Nov 2018 10:58:47

“There are negotiations being made that are going to answer all of your questions and solve all of your problems. That’s all I can tell you right now.” So goes the line from The Godfather. This week at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “negotiations will be being made” about the rules for counting debt relief as Official Development Assistance (ODA – or ‘aid’). As we blogged earlier this year, these negotiations are highly unlikely to answer all the questions or solve all the problems of civil society advocates interested in ensuring that the new rules set the best incentives for eradicating poverty, tackling inequalities and preventing a new wave of debt crises in the global south. Yet, just as in The Godfather, the negotiations remain shrouded ...

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Paradise Lost: EU governments blocking transparency one year after Paradise Papers

Olivia Lally

06 Nov 2018 18:04:49

On the morning of 5 November 2017, exactly one year ago this week, people around the world woke up to yet another shocking tax scandal. The Paradise Papers – released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – included 13.4 million leaked files from the law firm Appleby and others. The documents revealed the tax dodging strategies of more than 100 multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, as well as the offshore activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders. Overnight, big companies, politicians and celebrities found their dirty laundry exposed on front pages around the world. But 12 months later, what has changed? The answer is: not enough. We’re still stuck in the murky waters of corporate secrecy. Big companies can still hide money ...

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Argentina: More lending guarantees creeping austerity

Gino Brunswijck

31 Oct 2018 16:40:12

Against a backdrop of public protests, on 25 October the Argentinian government approved the 2019 budget including US$10 billion worth of cuts in essential areas such as education and public works. The next day, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the first review of a loan agreement paving the way for the disbursement of a tranche of US$5.7 billion to the debt-stricken country. At the same time, the Board gave the green light to increase Argentina’s bailout loan to US$56.3 billion. However, this loan comes with a significant price tag. The higher the bailout, the greater the austerity The IMF review calls for stronger and faster fiscal consolidation in Argentina. The budgetary targets for the short and medium term were tightened compared to the initial ...

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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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Annual Meetings round-up: As uncertainty reigns in the global economy, there are strong calls for a rethink of Fund and Bank policies

Maria Romero, Mark Perera, Gino Brunswijck

16 Oct 2018 15:22:45

With the country still reeling from the devastation of the Sulawesi tsunami, Indonesia played host to the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG), in Bali last week. The sobriety of the moment was reflected in gloomy forecasts from the IMF, which issued stark warnings of debt and trade risks to global growth. Meanwhile, controversy surrounded the World Bank’s new Human Capital Index; the 2019 World Development Report; and the ‘private finance first’ approach at the core of the Bank’s Maximising Finance for Development. CSOs and academics raised their voices to shine a light on the risks that the policies of the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) posed to human rights and sustainable development across the Global South. Eurodad presented new ...

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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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G20 game over? Three reasons why the Finance Ministers’ meeting shows the G20’s time may be up

Jesse Griffiths, Maria Romero, Tove Ryding

24 Jul 2018 18:27:54

The G20 Finance Ministers of the world’s largest economies met in Buenos Aires last weekend, but their failure to tackle pressing global problems, including the threat of trade wars and a looming debt crisis, highlighted how ineffective the G20 has become.  Given that the G20 cannot tackle key issues, is promoting ineffective initiatives, and has largely become a rubber stamping body for other actors, the time is ripe to rethink how the global economy is governed, and to promote alternatives.1.    The G20 cannot tackle key issues The 2017 G20 showed how the ‘anti-multilateralism’ approach of the world’s major powers immediately dampened the prospects of new initiatives coming out of the G20, as Eurodad reported at the time. It is no surprise, therefore, ...

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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 % ...