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.
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