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Citizens Debt Audits Network launched in Brussels

Recoiling from the austerity measures activists and organisations worldwide are starting to get together to fight back against the illegitimacy of the national debts and bailouts. On 7th April the first Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of the newly formed International Network for Citizen Debt Audits took place in Brussels. Activists and organisations from Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Egypt and Tunisia were present. The main intention of the group to organise a international network campaigning for transparency on the debt, the cancellation of austerity measures, and global regulation of the financial sector.

This new direction has been inspired largely by the different approach Iceland took on the financial crisis. On 23rd April, the former Prime-Minister Geir Haarde was put on trial, and although he has been found guilty of only one minor charge and got off scot-free the simple fact that he got put in the dock in the first place trial sets a potentially ground-breaking precedent.

He was accused of negligence in regulating the private banking expansion, whose paper value before the crash had ballooned to 10 times the GDP of the entire country. The wave of protests that have swept the country since 2008 led the previous government to resign and a new left wing coalition to be elected in 2009. Since then the banks have been nationalized and a new constitution has been written which protects Iceland’s sovereignty over the power of international finance and virtual money.

Iceland's standing up to EU, UK and Netherlands has been remarkable. The main issue regards the aggressive overseas expansion of Iceland’s banks through the Icesave savings accounts offering a staggering rate of 6% in UK and 5% in the Netherlands. By the time the credit crunch was over – the country owed a staggering 4 billion euros.

There were a couple of attempts to reach a consensus of payback on a lower interest rate – however the public rejected them outright by popular referendum. Despite fierce international pressure and bullying, the population of Iceland made it clear that they hadn't profited from the original transactions and they weren't going to take the rap when the deal turned sour.

Iceland legitimised and cleared the path for what has been shouted in the streets of all Europe. Financial speculation and reckless borrowing by international banking triggered the current crisis, hence the debt is odious and illegitimate to become a public debt. Knowledge gives power and the process of how the debt was incurred needs to be scrutinized and audited rather than glossed over by the ruling elites and the bankers.

There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: Doris - 19th July 2012 @ 8:22 AM
Freedom is not served when ploepe are held hostage to their failing health because they do not possess the financial means to heal.Freedom is not served when nations and those they employ are left to financial ruin.All that is served is fascism. lisa
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