The purpose of this study is to examine the odious debt concept in Greece. In Greece, the odious debt concept received high attention during recent financial crisis and Greek or Hellenic Parliament decided to establish a Special Committee.
The Greek Parliament Truth Committee on Public Debt investigated the public debt in Greece, and the main findings are: increase of debt was related to the growth in interest payments, high public spending in defence expenditures associated with corruption scandals, falsification of public deficit and debt statistical data and illicit capital outflows and adopting the euro led to a drastic increase in private debt.
Based on above the third Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and the August 2015 loan agreement, according to Greek Parliament Truth Committee on Public Debt are illegal, illegitimate and odious because they fail to recognize the odious character of Greece’s existing debt, and the nature of the instruments by which this debt was financed from 2010 until early 2015. The Third MoU and the August 2015 loan agreement violate the fundamental human rights of the Greek people (both civil and political as well as socio-economic rights) as set out in the Greek Constitution and under international law (treaty-based and customary).
On the other side of results, Greece was a democratic regime during the time it contracted the vast majority of its loans and membership into the Eurozone, which benefitted country by gaining the highly low interest rates that euro currency involved. Also, substantial borrowing for Greece spent directly on the people via social welfare and public sector wages and infrastructure development.
Therefore, Greece, instead of the odious debt doctrine, should resort to other debt solutions such as simple debt repayment, restructuring or “haircut” of the debt (principal and interest) or declare bankruptcy without invoking the odious debt doctrine. Although this recourse avoids the dangerous precedent-setting risks of the odious debt doctrine, it also involves numerous other complexities and policy problems because with default, the banking system would collapse.
It is the first study examining the topic of odious public debt in Greece.
Repousis, S. (2017), "Is the third Greek Memoranda of Understanding and Loan Agreement of August 2015 odious? Truth Committee on Public Debt in Greek or Hellenic Parliament and criticism on results", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 220-230. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMLC-11-2015-0051
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