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What if there is no fault in default?

This event is in Dutch.

Who will repay the debts incurred during the corona crisis? Are we going back to the austerity? In this online panel discussion, we examine how we can best deal with the European debt mountain.

The European Central Bank (ECB) pumped thousands of billions into the economy since corona came round. Government interventions were necessary, but too much ended up with those who were already rich. If the poorest now pay off those debts, inequality will explode even further.

So the question of a few trillions is: what are we going to do with all that government debt? The corona crisis illustrated the importance of public services and social security. Due to the consequences of global warming and the growing need for transition and intervention, a strong government role will also be crucial in the future, whether we like that or not.

Savings on public services to repay debts is a dead end. An alternative is to cancel those debts that can be cancelled. For example those to the ECB, which now owns a large part of the government debt in Europe. It sounds like cursing in the church, but many economists advocate it anyway, and historically it even makes sense to take a bold stand now.

Watch recording


  • Nick Meynen, senior policy officer economic transition at the European Environmental Bureau, the federation of environmental NGOs in Europe. Nick is also author of five books, including the forthcoming EEB book “Turning Point. The pandemic as an opportunity for change” (October 2021).

We will talk about the how and why of state debt cancellation with the following speakers:

  • Jens Van 'T Klooster, FWO Postdoc researcher at the Higher Institute for Philosophy at the KU Leuven. His research deals with ethical and political aspects of the governance of financial markets.
  • Frank Vanaerschot, researcher at FairFin and member of the corona coalition of unions and NGOs taking a stance on financing the government
  • Pierre Delandre, monetary sociologist, expert in public finance, executive in the financial sector, author, researcher at Etopia.
EEB, FairFin
28 Sep