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Paris club background


Debt management a la Louis XVI – A short Promenade through the
Programme and Practice of the Paris Club
1.The Bastille is still standing
The demonstrators had a good sense of history. When the French Jubilee 2000 campaign ‘Annullons
la dette’ first called for a demonstration outside the Paris Club in April 2000, the demonstrators
assembled for their march to the French ministry of finance at the Place de la Bastille.
In 1789, the storming of what was then the stronghold of the Bourbon monarchy by the poor of Paris
rang in the end of absolutism and the divine right of kings (for the time being) in France. The poor from
the debtor nations of the south – in as far as they were able to join the demonstration on that April day
– marched from the contemporary stronghold of the glass and concrete palace in Bercy guarded by
CRS in their hundreds, miles of barbed wire and discreetly deployed water cannons, without incident.
They restricted themselves to rhetorical criticism of the institution which was deciding their fate behind
closed doors.
There was reason enough for them to have taken action as radical as that taken by their fellow
sufferers in France two hundred and eleven years before. After all, the institution they were up against
is not only a union representing the governments which have for the last twenty years been
withdrawing financial resources from their countries at a level way above the ability to pay of their
national economies. It is also less influenced by the old continent’s two hundred year history of
democracy than by the classic features of absolute rule, namely the absence of powersharing,
particularly in the judiciary and the legislature, and also the unquestioned assumption of
a right to rule and an entitlement to legislate. Machiavelli would feel much more at home in Bercy than
Thomas Jefferson.
The question of the purpose and the legitimacy of international debt management institutions of this
nature is increasingly appearing on the agenda of international debt relief campaigns, just as, in their
day, the impoverished French masses moved from asking for a piece of bread to asking about the
legitimacy of an outlived political system. It’s time to turn this question to those it concerns nowadays.

2.So who or what is the Paris Club ?
In 1956 Argentina was unable to meet its financial obligations towards the governments from which it
had received trade credits and other forms of financial support. Creditor nations at that time found it
useful to negotiate with the defaulting debtor as a united front, and the French ministry of finance put
premises at the disposal of the two sides for a round of negotiations. The future Paris Club was born.
Since 1974, the French ministry of finance has also formally taken on the secretariat function.
Since then, what were originally ad hoc mechanisms have solidified into a rigid negotiating framework
which every southern debtor nation that is unable to meet its financial obligations to northern creditor
governments (in full) is dependent on. Between 1980 and the end of 1999, 73 Asian, African, South
American and Eastern European countries had entered into 280 rounds of debt rescheduling
negotiations with the Paris Club. After each of these, the delegation from the debtor nation travelled
round the different creditor capitals to convert what were, technically, non-binding Paris agreements
into internationally binding contracts.
Negotiations normally happen once a month: usually two or three countries are dealt with after the first
day of the week, which is reserved for fundamental questions and a general overview by the creditor
delegations, the socalled ‘Tour d’horizon’. In this Tour d’horizon, potential candidates for debt
rescheduling are discussed and agreements reached on the agendas for future rounds of
negotiations. Usually one or two days are reserved per country for negotiations, although those
negotiations often continue well into the night. Indeed, agreements are often only signed late at night
or even in the early hours of the following day.
Those involved in negotiations are the 19 permanent members of the Paris Club (the members of the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – OECD plus Russia), and other countries
can also be included if they are creditors of the country in question. As a rule, all the relevant
ministries are represented in the creditor delegations. In the case of Germany this includes, in addition
to the economics ministry which leads the delegation, the finance ministry, the ministry for
international development, the foreign ministry, the offcial development bank KfW and the official
export credit agency Hermes (1) The delegations from debtor countries are normally led
by the finance minister or the president of the central bank, or at least by a senior civil servant from
one of these institutions.
3.A long way from a constitutional state

Nothing is more revealing for an understanding of the workings of the Paris Club than to compare
these with the mechanisms of a constitutional state, which have gradually found their way into the
legal framework of states all over the world, based on the principles of the French revolution. How
does the club operate in theory and in practice as regards the process by which cases of inability to
pay are regulated between domestic debtors and creditors? Insolvency laws have substituted for the
debt prison in European and North American societies because even those in power recognised that
unresolved debtor – creditor relations contain powerful social dynamite, which is better resolved
insofar as is possible by consensus. This is both in the interests of social stability and also of an
efficiently functioning economy. The current process between indebted southern countries and their
creditors falls far below these standards.
One serious difference between Paris Club procedures and those governed by constitutional law,
under which a ruling for an insolvent debtor is reached within a national legal framework, is that in the
latter an impartial body, normally a properly constituted court, is in control of the process, and also
reaches a judgement to which both parties are bound. This is the case for both company insolvency
and the insolvency of private individuals, and also - particularly important from the point of view of debt
cancellation campaigners – for the insolvency of territorial authorities, as defined in Chapter 9 of US
insolvency law. (2) In the Paris Club, on the other hand, the creditors act as judge in their own case:
the majority of the negotiating process is concerned with decision making amongst the creditors. The
delegation from the debtor country, after putting their case and then leaving the negotiating
table, is simply informed of the creditors’ offer by the leader of the French negotiating team. The
debtor can accept the offer, or reject it and ask for improvements, as long as the creditors are
prepared to consider amendments to their proposal. In view of the imbalance of power between the
parties involved, it is only in exceptional circumstances that the agreed minutes, which are drafted by
the creditors and finally signed by all those involved, differ substantially from the creditors’ initial
position.
Secondly, the creditors don’t just control the process itself. They also create the framework within
which a solution for the country in question has to be found. From the beginning of the debt crisis in
the early Eighties until the end of that decade the prevailing dogma that no southern country was
insolvent, but only, at worst, had liquidity difficulties - a temporary cash flow problem - was the basis of
the Paris Club’s position. Accordingly, the phrase ‘debt cancellation’ was taboo during this period.
Negotiations concerned the rescheduling of debts, i.e. the extension of repayment deadlines over a
longer period, combined with the introduction of penalty interest. It was only in 1988, when private
creditors, under the pressure of non-payment by their debtors in the south, actually began to reduce
their claims, that the public creditors also started to concede partial cancellation. At the G7 summits in
Toronto in 1989, London in 1991, Naples in 1994, Lyon in 1996 and Cologne in 1999 the possibility of
partial cancellations by the Paris Club was created respectively extended. From our perspective
however, the key point here is that of course not a single debtor country, nor even an impartial
international institution from the UN system, was party to the agreement of the framework for such
negotiations. It was decided by the G7 alone and the frameworks were then appropriately called after
their respective conference venues: Toronto, (London?) Naples, Lyon and Cologne. And they were
correspondingly inadequate: at two yearly intervals 33%, 50%, 67%, 80% and, finally, 90% reductions
in debt servicing, and later also reductions of the debt stock, were announced as a final solution to the
debt crisis, like a running joke in a comedy show. Following the Cologne debt initiative, we have now
reached a point considered heretical when put by NGO representatives in 1992: ‘In some cases complete debt cancellation is the only thing that can help.’ (3) Integral to the definition of the framework for cancellation constructed by the creditors was that they should set the conditions under which the relief proposed in that framework would be allowed at all. This normally involves participation in a Structural Adjustment Programme, which the debtor has to agree with the IMF (and then keep to). A critical debate about the theory and practice of structural adjustment only found a serious place in the politics of the international financial institutions at the 1999 annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank. Up till then, it was based on a number of unquestioned assumptions and beliefs. Two of these are of central importance for us • macroeconomic stabilisation is fundamental, along with the ability to service debts in future • the causes of the present inability to pay lie completely, or to a large extent, with the debtors; and therefore measures for reform need to be undertaken solely by them. The idea that there could be viable economic strategies developed beyond court, in other words, apart
from the economic model developed within the international financial institutions was, at least until the
summer of 1999, considered heretical in Washington. (4) The idea that the creditors who dominated
the procedure might themselves be partially responsible for their creditors’ inability to pay, and
therefore also be in need of economic reform, appeared to be equally absurd.

4.A fatal division of labour

The Paris Club and its creditor members, however, are not acting out of ill will, and still less from
personal disregard for those whose chance in life is drastically restricted by the excessive outflow of
resources from their country. It’s much more a case of it being incapable of acting in any other way
than they do. Those financiers who set the tone in the Paris Club are, after all, responsible for the
public finances of their countries, and not for their foreign or development policy – like a royal
treasurer. Whoever wants to do something for the poor, on the other hand, should turn to the
development aid ministry. If necessary, what has been collected by the Paris Club in the first place
can then be redistributed by ist members in the form of new loans – occasionally also as grants.
Sometimes this will amount to even more than was collected in – kings are occasionally generous.
Neither the positive nor the negative outcomes of Paris Club negotiations have anything in common
with the constitutional arrangements within each of the creditor nations which, quite rightly, guarantee
a fair and calculable balancing of interests for everyone who has run into difficulties, whether in debt or
not.
The Club has no standing orders. It has no fixed written policy, for example on the question of who will
actually be included in its negotiations. Instead, the secretariat decides which of the other creditors
who are non-permanent members of the club will be invited to participate, under a process which is
not entirely transparent even to such significant fellow negotiators as Germany. As a result, for several
countries who are significantly indebted to (current) non-members like Russia or international outlaws
like Libya the conclusions reached offer anything but a comprehensive solution. On the contrary, the
members regularly demand that non-members give the debtor nation the same treatment - i.e. debt
rescheduling or reduction - under the same conditions as theirs. Whether that works, whether or not
creditors who haven’t even been asked their opinion are prepared to accept such conditions isn’t the
problem of those assembled in Paris. On the contrary, with their equal treatment clause they have an
instrument with which they can punish the debtor for its other creditors not having signed the
agreement that Paris had provided.
During talks between Jubilee campaigners and the Paris Club secretariat on the fringe of the
demonstration mentioned earlier, the position was presented as follows:
Other creditors are invited on a case by case basis. For example, in the case of Guyana, Trinidad and
Tobago was included as a significant creditor. “Imagine how ridiculous it would be if Trinidad and
Tobago was always involved even when they had no claim at all…” Objection from the campaign: “in
the case of Uganda, the failure to include non-Paris Club members cost the country US$200 million in
missed debt cancellation; for Tanzania, an even greater non-cancellation was incurred through the
non-involvement of Libya, Iraq etc.” Response: “the Paris Club invites all creditors of good faith”.
Question: “who decides who is a ‘good faith’ creditor?” Answer: “we would never reach any

conclusions with Iraq and Libya at the negotiating table, we know that. And anyway, Tanzania didn’t
even request their invitation.” Question: “were there any consultations with Tanzania about who should
be invited?” Answer: “no. The debtor country has to take the initiative if they want anyone other than
the 19 permanent members included”. (5)

5. The experts
Debt rescheduling negotiations are a tricky business. Their starting point is the debtor’s assertion that
they are unable to pay. And even the shrewdest civil servant in the German or French finance ministry
is hardly in a position to take a decisive stance where the financial circumstances of an entire country
applying for relief are concerned. So the Paris Club does what any well regulated legal court would do:
it employs an expert witness. However, not just any old expert, such as a firm of private consultants
with experience in macroeconomic analysis. Instead, the club uses a public monopoly, the
International Monetary Fund, two thirds of whose assets just happen to belong to the 19 permanent
Paris Club members. During the procedure described above, before the debtor delegation leaves
the negotiating table, an IMF representative takes the floor to give an IMF assessment of the debtor’s
economic position. The interplay between the creditors sitting in judgement and their experts turns out
to be most peculiar, as an example from 1995 shows. Some time ago the heavily indebted Nicaragua
was the subject of negotiations and, within the framework of the conditions then in force, a
cancellation of 67% was agreed. At the time, not only debt cancellation campaigners, but also a
German MP were surprised by the inadequate cancellation quota – in 2000 the creditors also officially
recognised that Nicaragua needed all its bilateral debts owing to members of the Paris Club cancelled.
In response to an enquiry by the Bundestag member as to why the initial agreement had been so
inadequate, which in practice dictated the next inability to pay in advance, the then Secretary of State
Stark gave the following answer on behalf of the German finance ministry: “The respective balance of
payments analysis was made by the IMF representative in connection with the third round of Paris
Club debt rescheduling negotiations with Nicaragua, which took place in 1995; it demonstrates that, in
the long term, a cancellation quota of 67%, rather than the 80% proposed by Germany and other
creditors, would be sufficient.” According to the Secretary of State, as a result of the cancellation
guaranteed and the deferment of interest payments “ these far-reaching concessions, should put
Nicaragua in a position to be able to honour its remaining debt servicing responsibilities.”
Then the MP made a direct enquiry to the IMF as to how the conclusion had been reached that 67%
was considered a sufficient level of cancellation, and received the quite astonishing answer from the
fund’s German executive director that: “as a matter of principle no particular cancellation requirement
is ever assumed, but rather that, following discussion with the creditors, a ‘cancellation offer’ of what
could realistically be expected from the creditors would be included in the calculations. We ourselves
have, on order from the ministry of finance, repeatedly called upon the IMF staff to stick to this
procedure, so that the Paris Club talks would not be prejudiced by eventual ‘assumptions’. (6) To put it
plainly: the Paris Club refers to the IMF’s analysis of a debtor’s ability to pay, but the IMF declares that
it has made no such analysis. Hard luck, Nicaragua! Unfortunately there is no provision for a
complaints procedure in this process. If a debtor is unhappy with anything, they can – as a fellow
owner of the Fund – make a complaint through their own executive director. What does the country
have it’s 0.08% share of the vote for, after all?
6. Bad king – good king
The fact that, in the final analysis, the creditors reserve the right to make all the decisions themselves
by no means means that the debtor always gets a raw deal. On the contrary, there are famous cases
in which the club overruled its own guidelines and was generous – because it fitted in with the political
calculations of one or more important members. That’s how Poland and Egypt managed to elicit some
50% cancellation of their debts to the Paris Club in 1991.This was in response to pressure from the
United States, in recognition of Poland’s change to a market economy and Egypt’s “good behaviour”
during the Gulf war. The Indonesian rescheduling through the mediator H.J.Abbs, held up as a model
by the Jubilee campaign in its findings, was also a blatant departure from the club rules at the time
(and the current ones). The latter case has been a real test case which has even called the club’s
continued existence into question. Less spectacular, by contrast, are the cases where the creditors
punished rebellious debtors by offering them less than the club was normaly offering, or even simply
refused to allow a candidate who wished to enter negotiations to do so.

7. ‘Le Club de Paris n’existe pas’

Faced with a request to allow greater public access to the way his affairs were conducted, Louis XVI
could hardly have been more mystified than the current Paris Club secretariat. The data provided for a
given country by the IMF during debt rescheduling negotiations are amongst the best and most up to
date that can possibly be produced from the problematic database of many southern countries (the
interpretation of this data is another story – see above). In a similar way to the way in which the World
Bank looks into the debtor’s financial position in detail in their standard reference work ‘Global
Development Finance’ every year, creditors receive a comprehensive insight into the debtor’s
economic position from the IMF. This insight provides the basis for a view on their ability to pay, and it
is on this basis that a debtor’s ‘cancellation requirement’ is decided in Paris and then responded to by
creditors.
Whereas an insolvency court would also pose the opposite question in its search for a solution
acceptable to all parties: “What is the creditor’s financial position? Is it reasonable to expect them to
partially renounce their claims if necessary, or would their stability, or even their existence, be
endangered by that?”, this is an argument which - strangely - the northern governments like to employ
at the very first suggestion of demands for cancellation : “Unfortunately our budget is so stretched at
the moment that it would be quite impossible for us to finance a more far-reaching renunciation at
present” ( while gladly adding: “later, when there has been some consolidation in our budget, we
would certainly be willing to revisit the question of further cancellations…”).Unfortunately, the IMF
doesn’t provide any statistics that would allow the verification of statements made by creditors, and
even those which should really be publicly available do not really provide a solid basis for asking (let
alone answering) the following question: ‘Can cancellation reasonably be expected from
countries whose per capita income is 20 – 250 times that of their debtors?’ during the course of
negotiations. What business of the masses are the king’s finances, after all?
However, what is true for the individual creditors, is even more true for the Paris Club as an
rganisation: while the IMF, which for years rightly deserved the reputation of being the least
transparent of all financial organisations, now publishes an outstandingly well designed and up to date
homepage (‘whereas for years trying to get any information out of them was like trying to get blood out
of a stone), the Paris Club insists that it has nothing to tell the world. A press release of one side at the
most is given, as a rule, to a single press agency once negotiations with a particular country have
been completed. The communication includes a standard text about the Paris Club itself, the names of
the negotiators from the debtor side, the name of the person chairing the creditor side, and the outline
of the general framework which was used in the agreement. Finally, a summary of the rescheduled or
cancelled amount is given. Any further information about, for example, the contributions of individual
creditors or the positions they held during the negotiations remains confidential. Any request for
publication of the Agreed Minutes, which contain a large amount of information on the assessment of
the agreement, is refused by the Paris Club on the grounds that this would be an infringement of the
property rights of the 19+1 participants in the negotiations, all of whom would have to authorise such a
publication. In other words, only if authorisation – in writing – from them all were to be submitted would
the secretariat theoretically be in a position to release further information. Royal courts which sat in
secret also used to avoid annoying enquiries by denying their own existence. On one famous ccasion,
an NGO representative was told on the telephone, when they rang the secretariat in search of further
information, that ‘There is no Paris Club’ – in other words, a body which can provide information only
exists when it is sitting in council. At all other times there is no-one who is in a position of authority to
make any comment whatsoever. (7)
8. Absolutism starts in the mind
The dramatic imbalance of power between the negotiating parties manifests itself long before the
actual negotiations begin. Some of the accompanying circumstances also make it feel more like a
feudal lord – vassal relationship than a normal credit transaction in a civil-capitalist economic
environment.
Basically, negotiations represent something of a home game for the creditors. They take place in the
French finance ministry in Bercy, on the left bank of the Seine. The architecture alone gives the
impression of a concrete, glass and marble stronghold. Delegations are led through a complex
network of corridors by resident personnel members until they sit opposite the Lords and their
colleagues in sumptuous chairs. It is hard to imagine how such an atmosphere could fail to have an
intimidating effect on delegates from the south, where basic questions such as whether or not the
telephone is working are more likely to form part of their working day. The fact that debtor countries
often ask for less than the creditors, or at least some of them, are prepared to give them right from
the start, could also possibly have something to do with this, too.
Talks with representatives of creditor delegations reveal that they are under the impression that they
are doing objective good to the debtors in Paris. After all, someone is coming and asking for a
repayment respite, and getting it – more or less. Sympathetic creditor representatives occasionally
report enthusiastically how they managed to put an extra advantage the way of some country or other
as a result of their own competence and an implicit understanding with their fellow creditors. A
reduced interest rate here, an extra year’s grace there and, where necessary, occasionally an entire
credit agreement for an amount of tens of millions has disappeared without trace. One can afford to be
generous. Generous gestures always yield a political dividend, because through them the creditors
secure the cooperation of the other side’s civil servants and ministers. For them, each of these
benefits is vital when they have to report the results of their business trip to the bright lights’ city to the
media in their own countries. They will be seeing each other again.
9. The London counterpart
Even less formalised than the Paris Club is its equivalent amongst the private banks: ‘the London
Club’. In principle, this operates according to the same basic format: the creditors establish a forum in
which they negotiate with individual debtor countries about either their public debts, or the debts they
have concealed from the public, as the case may be. The conditions are even less well-defined than
the respective Paris Club terms. Exchange offers are negotiated in which original contracts are
exchanged for ones with longer repayment periods, and, in the case of partial cancellations, also with
a lower nominal value or a lower interest rate. Unlike in Paris, however, there is no single leading
creditor who takes responsibility for the whole procedure. By contrast, one of the banks coordinating
the negotiations from the group of creditor institutions is chosen for each individual debtor nation
(usually the one with the largest outstanding loans). They then organise a ‘banks advisory committee’,
which is made up of what the creditors feel is the most representative group of banks for the debtor in
question. This committee then controls the negotiating process, which takes place to a greater degree
through telecommunication than in the case of public creditors. And that’s why the ‘London Club’
doesn’t meet regularly in London. Normally it meets at the headquarters of whichever bank is taking
the leading role in the negotiations. For example, in the case of the Indonesia reschedulings in 1998 it
met at Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt.
From the debtor country’s point of view, this means that it finds itself in the same position in ‘London’
as in Paris: its creditors organise themselves and determine whether, and in what way, their claims
could be extended (over a period of time) or cancelled, if necessary. The basis for their decision is the
analysis of the same consultants who also provide the right analysis at the right moment in Paris: the
IMF.
And making matters worse is the fact that the coordination between private and public creditors leaves
much to be desired. For the poorest countries this hardly matters, since only a small proportion of their
debts, if any at all, are owed to private sources of capital. But for middle income countries, with a more
complex creditor structure, the fact that one is dealing with two independent creditor forums at once
can lead, over a long period of time, to each of those groups waiting for the other to make
concessions. Furthermore, cancellations which they are perhaps willing to make in principle are, in
fact, less far-reaching because there is a fear that greater generosity will not help the debtor, but
simply improve the repayment prospects for the other creditor group.
10. What happens if the walls come down?
Protagonists in the existing creditor clubs like to make out that there is no alternative to their current
procedures, preferably accompanied by the threat of credit blacklisting for debtors who refuse to
cooperate. If, for instance, a country requested a fair and transparent process instead of an
appointment with the Paris Club (the argument goes) it would thereby lose any chance of becoming
creditworthy on an international level again. Occasionally, reference is made to the “moral hazard”
argument that would ensue without the disciplinary effect of the Paris Club negotiations, which are
deliberately designed to be painful to the debtor: fiscal and expenditure discipline could suffer
dangerously if those responsible for the financial management of a southern country didn’t have the
disagreeable prospect of an embarrassing meeting with the creditor hoard gathered in Paris in view.
This is not the place to go into such arguments in detail, nor to discuss the recently argued unilateral
point of view that follows on from such arguments that once again sees all the danger in a well-
ordered creditor-debtor relationship as being to the debtor alone. (8) However the counter argument
suggests itself: if constitutional mechanisms entail such serious negative consequences, why are they
not also abolished within national contexts to the advantage of the debt prison? The Jubilee campaign,
on the other hand, supports the internationalisation of the constitutional procedure contained in
chapter 9 of the US insolvency law for heavily indebted territorial authorities, in the form of an
international arbitration procedure.
In keeping with the spirit of historical comparison in which this essay was undertaken, we should
finally remember that the French aristocracy also countered increasing criticism of their ossified and
repressive regime, which was incapable of reform, with the argument that there was no alternative to
it. To give the masses civil rights would lead to an immediate dissolution of all national order
altogether, and to the complete breakdown of national economic life with incalculable consequences,
especially for the poor who were rebelling against their rulers. By defending the existing order, the
ruling class are therefore really championing the interests of the poor masses.
From our privileged historical perspective we know that none of these earlier prophecies of doom were
fulfilled. On the contrary, the disposal of the old regime provided the basis for an unprecedented new
economic dynamic, which paved the way for the capitalist system and the constitutional civil state with
which it is connected. If we look at the (few) cases in which negotiations between creditors and
debtors have been handled in a fairer, and basically more constitutional way than corresponds to
current practice in the creditor clubs, there are reasonable grounds to assume that the world would not
come to an end this time either.
Juergen Kaiser
Translated by Margery Cartledge

Notes
1 For further information on the Club and the work of the German delegation see: Eberlei,W.: Deutsche
Gläubigerpolitik gegenüber ärmsten Ländern; Diss. Duisburg 1999; paras 4.2 and 6.4
2 For a proposed internationalisation of chapter 9 see: Raffer,K.: Applying chapter9 insolvency to international
debts; an economically efficient solution with a human face; in: World Development 18 (2); pp. 301-311
3 In the 90’s creditor delegations issued statements of their positions which clearly indicate the measure of
conviction with which limits to cancellation, which have now long since been recognised as inadequate and
antiquated, were, at the time, held to be sufficient by representatives of the creditor delegations.
4 The ongoing debate about to what degree the reforms instigated over the last year are serious cannot be
entered into in detail here. The strongest evidence about the long history of Paris Club debt relief and the
interplay between bilateral creditors and multilateral organisations is given by those on the creditor side who
would now like to make improvements. For example the World Bank’s standard work ‘Global Development
Finance 2000’ says: ‘The new HIPIC- initiative aims at a decisive break from the design of past relief programs
and therefore past history may be a poor guide for the future.” ‘(p.71) Members of the Paris Club had long since
privately regretted the inadequacy of the provision made there. For example the mildly resigned tone of an
internal note of the Ministry for the Economy, which has responsibility for the Paris Club,: ‘Only a few of the
current total of 64 countries who have received debt rescheduling were, even after the agreement on a delay in
repayments, in a position to be able to meet their debt servicing commitments from their own resources.” (BMWi,
Abt. VC6: Der Pariser Club. Sein Beitrag zur Lösung der Verschuldungsprobleme.
5 Author’s minutes of the talks.
6 Letter from Stefan Schoenberg, IMF executive director to Detlev von Larcher MP, of 28.9.95. This position held
by their own IMF executive director was obviously previously unknown to the German government. The Ministry
of Economic Affairs’ publication ‘The Paris Club. Its contribution to a solution to debt problems’ of September
1995 contained the following: Information about the economic and financial situation of a given country, received
by the IMF in connection with their negotiations concerning an economic structural adjustment programme…show
the extent of debt relief necessary in each individual case…’
7 All the more surprising therefore, that in April 2000 the chair of the Paris Club told a delegation from Erlassjahr of their intention to set up a Paris Club homepage. Welcome as this news was, at the end of the discussion no-one could imagine what might actually be published on it that would be in keeping with the Paris Club’s publication policy. 8 A typical presentation of this position can be found in the BMZ’s advisory board’s statement ‘International Insolvency Provision for Developing Countries’; a commentary by Erlassjahr 2000 and Professor Kunibert Raffer is available at: http:www.erlassjahr2000.de 9 In addition to the cases of Indonesia, Poland and Egypt mentioned above, one can also mention the debt relief granted to Germany in 1953, even though this occurred prior to the founding of the Paris Club.

Source: http://www.erlassjahr.de/cms/upload/englisch/dokumente/Debt_Managenent_a_la_Louis_XIV.pdf

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