Debt relief for Greece makes economic and moral sense

By Press Office
February 3, 2015

Ekklesia, the politics and beliefs thinktank, has joined senior religious leaders in calling for a positive debt deal for Greece and an alternative, moral approach to the economic crises brought about by debt-deflationary policies and austerity.

An open letter, published on 2 January 2015 in the Guardian newspaper, reads as follows:

Many economists now agree that debt relief is a necessity for economic recovery in Greece. But debt is not just a financial issue, it is also a moral one. Both lenders and borrowers are responsible for creating debts. The ancient concept of a 'jubilee' recognises that sometimes debts need to be cancelled when they are causing poverty and increasing inequality. In Greece, child poverty has almost doubled in the past six years, and half of young people are unemployed.

Meanwhile, the Jubilee Debt Campaign has calculated that 90 per cent of the loans from the IMF, EU and ECB to Greece have actually been used to bailout European banks. It is immoral for all the costs of this ongoing crisis to be borne by the people of Greece, rather than those who lent money recklessly in the first place. Reducing the burden by cancelling some of its debts will give Greece a much-needed chance at recovery and help bring hope back to Europe.

Signatories:

Dr Rowan Williams Master, Magdalene College, Cambridge,
Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar Secretary, Manchester Council of Mosques,
Rabbi Larry Tabick Shir Hayim/Hampstead Reform Jewish Community,
Canon Dr Paul Oestreicher,
Rev Professor Michael H Taylor,
Rev Philip Taylor Superintendent minister, Methodist Borders Mission Circuit,
Rev Stuart Davison Regional minister team leader, South Eastern Baptist Association,
Jeffrey Newman Emeritus rabbi, Finchley Reform Synagogue,
Rev Sue Woolley District minister, Midland Unitarian Association,
Jonathan Bartley Co-director, Ekklesia,
Simon Barrow Co-director, Ekklesia,
Rev Chris Densham Lead minister, Dereham Baptist Church,
Rev James Ramsay Vicar, St Barnabas Church, Manor Park,
Stuart Murray Williams Chair, Mennonite Trust,
Rev Dr Ruth Gouldbourne Co-minister, Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church,
Rev Neil Douglas Minister, Calvary Baptist Church,
John Sheldon Warwick Quaker Meeting,
Rev Dr Brian Haymes,
Rev John Churcher,
Rev Chich Hewitt,
Rev Stephen Dando,
Rev Andrew Dawson,
Rev Roger Taylor,
Rev Gwynne Brindley,
Rev Simon Copley.

* Original here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/02/giving-debt-relief-greece-m...

* Jubilee Debt Campaign: http://jubileedebt.org.uk

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.