Share |

Citizens' Audit on Public Debt Initiative

Summoning for the Lisbon Convention

Cuts on the most basic of the State's social functions have been justified with the need to finance payment of public debt. The austerity measures affect peoples' life conditions, making them poorer day by day and degrading their access to health, education, housing, work, justice, culture and all the other pillars of democracy.

Grasping the dimension and characteristics of the public debt is not only a right but an essential stage to develop future strategies for the country. Not all parts of this debt are effectively compromises undertaken by the State, and some may not even be legitimate. By auditing the debt, the commitments undertaken by the debtor will be verified, regarding its origins, legitimacy, legality and sustainability. A citizen-led public debt audit will carry through this analysis, investigating the public sector's
pledges to national and foreign creditors, including private debt guaranteed by the State.

Upon the troika's entrance in Portugal, Portuguese public debt had surpassed 90% of the annual wealth produced in the country (GDP). In
2013, when this intervention is supposed to end, the debt will rise above 106% of that year's expected GDP. Meanwhile, the production of wealth will have regressed to the values of more than a decade ago, and unemployment will have reached over 13%. These are the government's predictions. Reality could be far worse. Much will depend on the evolution of the situation in Europe and the rest of the World.

The European leaderships' inability, thoroughly demonstrated by the situation in Greece, jeopardises the Euro and the whole project of
European integration. Insisting on the road to austerity is leading to a new worldwide recession.

By the end of the troika's intervention, Portugal will have a bigger public debt and will be far poorer. In the meantime, the policies undertaken will leave a trail of destruction and social regression: public services dismantled, the public productive sector reduced to nothing, massive unemployment, lower wages and family bankruptcies. At this stage, the impossibility in terms of paying the public debt will be acknowledged, as well as the uselessness of the sacrifices, which will have only contributed to aggravate the problems they promised to solve, leading the country to a decline without an end in sight.

We consider avoiding this scenario not only possible, but also urgent and essential. In order to do so, the question of the debt must be faced
realistically and it must be dealt with in a way that is compatible with the safeguard of universally acknowledged values and fundamental human rights.

There is a need to recognize that the public debt is just one of the multiple commitments of the Portuguese State. Besides its contracted obligations with the creditors, the State has inalienable duties to its citizens, of current as well as future generations. The Portuguese State must guarantee the fundamental social rights consecrated in the Constitution, as well as in international law. These rights take precendence over all others. To let creditors' rights prevail over all other rights is illegitimate, not only morally, but also legally.

The Portuguese public debt needs to be restructured, and that should happen by initiative of the Portuguese State, prolonging maturities and reducing principal and interest. The postponement of this decision will worsen the conditions for this with the passing of time. Today it would be more difficult to renegotiate with the IMF and the EU than it would have been yesterday with the multiple private creditors, and an audit can conclude that there are parts of the debt that are illegitimate and should be repudiated.

Aware of the urgency of a different approach to the Portuguese public debt problem, the signatories promote a Convention to take place in Lisbon on 17th December 2011 to launch a Citizen's Audit on the Public Debt.

We appeal to all to mobilize in the preparation of this convention and to participate in the activities that will start on that day and many more to follow.

The Convention states as its objectives:

  1. To present all citizens with new instruments to oversee and intervene in public life that will reinforce democracy;
  2. To make perfectly transparent before all citizens the process of indebtedness of the Portuguese State and the current situation of the public debt in its many components;
  3. To debate the implications and identify alternatives for the solution of the public debt problem;
  4. To formally launch the initiative for a Citizen's Audit on Public Debt

The Convention assumes the following duties:

  1. To establish the fundamental principles that will shape the audit process;
  2. To define forms of organization of the audit process that will articulate an active citizenship participation with expert contributions;
  3. To constitute, elect members and mandate a commission that will promote the Citizen's Audit on Public Debt;
  4. To analyse citizen's audit experiences conducted in other countries;
  5. To articulate with other citizen audit initiatives, namely the Greek and the Irish ones, as well as with other movements that are organizing the European Alliance of Citizen's Audit Initiatives;
  6. To search for technical support with organizations that have accumulated knowledge regarding debt audits on an international level;
  7. To find forms of financing the citizens' audit process.

Tradução de João Camargo

Adelino Gomes, Albertina Pena, Alberto Jaime Marques Midões, Alberto Melo, Alcides Santos, Alda Mourão, Alexandre Abreu, Alexandre de Sousa Carvalho, Almerinda Bento, Amélia Batista Bento, Ana Benavente, Ana Cordeiro dos Santos, Ana Costa, Ana de Saint-Maurice Correia de Matos, Ana Feijão, Ana Gaspar, Ana Margarida Fernandes Esteves, André Albuquerque, André Couto, André Pires, Andrea Peniche, Anne Marie Delettrez, António Avelãs, António Baldaia, Antonio Barbosa Topa, António Borges Coelho, António Carlos Santos, António de Sousa Dias, António Gonzalez, António Manuel Lourenço Subtil, António Melo, António Monteiro Cardoso, António Pedro Dores, António Pinto Pereira, António Rodrigues Ascenção, António Serzedelo, António Teodoro, Armandina Maia, Armindo Carvalho, Armindo Rangém Fernandes, Bernardino Aranda, Bernardo Vilas Boas, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Bruno Moraes Cabral, Carlos Bastien, Carlos Carujo, Carlos Loures, Carlos Luís Figueira, Carlos Oliveira, Carlos Trindade, Catarina Martins, Catarina Moreira, Cipriano Justo , Clarisse Canha, Cláudia Villalobos, Cristina Andrade, Daniel Oliveira, Deolinda Marques Dias Martin, Diana Andringa, Diogo Gaivoto, Domingos Lopes, Dora Fonseca , Eduardo Milheiro, Elísio Estanque, Emídio Ribeiro, Eugénia Pires, Eurico Figueiredo, Eva Santos, Fátima Ferreiro, Fernando Vicente, Fernando Felizes , Fernando Gomes, Fernando Rosas, Filipa Subtil, Filipe Carmo, Filipe Cordeiro, Florival Rogerio Neves Cordeiro, Francisco Alves, Francisco Miguel Venes, Guadalupe Simões, Gui Castro Felga, Guilherme da Fonseca-Statter, Gustavo Cardoso, Gustavo Pimenta, Helder Costa, Helena Cabeçadas, Helena Machado, Helena Maria Pinto Soares Costa, Helena Romão, Heloísa Perista, Henrique Borges, Henrique Santos Neves, Henrique Sousa, Hermes Costa, Hugo Dias, Hugo Evangelista, Ilda Coelho, Inês Rodrigues, Irene Rodrigues, Isabel Castro, Isabel Cluny, Isabel do Carmo, Isabel Guerra, Isabel Guerreiro, Isabel Lindim, Isabel Tadeu, Ivone Barracha, Januário Torgal Ferreira, Joana Lopes, Joana Louçã, Joana Manuel, Joana Neves, Joana Sales, João Almeida, João Azevedo, João Bernardo Weinstein, João Camargo, João Carlos Graça, João Pacheco, João Labrincha, João Machado, João Nuno Mineiro, João Ricardo Vasconcelos, João Rodrigues, João Teixeira Lopes, João Vasconcelos Costa, Joaquim Jordão, Joaquim Veiguinha, Jorge Bateira, Jorge Caleiras, Jorge Campos, Jorge Costa, Jorge Martins, Jorge Nascimento Fernandes, Jorge Pires da Conceição, José Amaral, José Castro Caldas, José Ferro, José Goulão, José Gouveia, José Gusmão, José Luís Peixoto, José Luís Villalobos Filipe, José Manuel Henriques, José Manuel Lopes Cordeiro, José Manuel Mendes, José Manuel Miguel Judas, José Manuel Pureza, José Manuel Rolo, José Manuel Sobral, José Maria Silva, José Paupério Fernandes, José Reis, José Reis Santos, José Soeiro, José Vitor Malheiros, Josina Almeida, Julieta Monginho, Júlio Marques Mota, Karin Gomes, Liberato Fernandes, Lídia Fernandes, Luís Bernardo, Luis Francisco Carvalho, Luís Mateus, Luís Moita, Luis Mouga Lopes , Luís Nuno Sousa Martinho Soares Barbosa, Luísa Costa Gomes, Luísa Lima, Luísa Schimdt, Luísa Teotónio Pereira, Magda Alves, Manuel Beirão Martins Guerreiro, Manuel Branco, Manuel Brandão Alves, Manuel Carlos Silva, Manuel Carvalho da Silva, Manuel Correia Fernandes, Manuel Dias, Manuel Loff , Manuel Soares, Manuela Silva, Manuela Tavares, Marco Marques, Margarida Antunes, Margarida Chagas Lopes, Maria da Conceição Moita, Maria da Conceição Rodrigues, Maria da Paz Campos Lima, Maria de Lurdes Domingues, Maria Eduarda Gonçalves, Maria Filomena Menezes Vaz da Fonseca, Maria José Casa-Nova, Maria José de Sousa Magalhães, Maria Júlia Jaleco, Maria Manuel Viana, Maria Manuela Cruz Cruz Reis Góis, Maria Priscila Soares, Maria Teresa Malheiros de Lemos Peixoto, Maria Teresa Samora Macara, Maria Trigoso, Maria Vitória Pato, Mariana Avelãs, Mariana Mortágua, Mario Brochado Coelho, Mário Marcelo F. S. Nogueira, Mário Robalo, Mario Ruivo, Mário Tomé, Marta Morais, Martins Coelho, Miguel Cardina, Nídia Zózimo, Noémio Ramos, Nuno Cabeçadas, Nuno Filipe Moreira dos Santos Carneiro, Nuno Martins, Nuno Serra, Nuno Teles, Nuno Teotónio Pereira, Octávio Ribeiro da Cunha, Octávio Teixeira, Olímpia Pinto, Orlando de Almeida, Patrícia Reis, Paula Cabeçadas, Paula Cristina Marques, Paula Gil, Paula Godinho, Paulo Borges, Paulo Coimbra, Paulo Fidalgo , Paulo Granjo, Paulo Jacinto, Paulo Sucena, Pedro Bacelar de Vasconcelos, Pedro Daniel Tavares Ferreira, Pedro Miguel Santos, Pedro Moura, Pedro Silva Sena, Raimundo Pedro Narciso, Ramiro António Soares Rodrigues, Raquel Freire, Renato Carmo, Ricardo Amaral Robles, Ricardo Coelho, Ricardo Lindim Ramos, Ricardo Mamede, Ricardo Vicente, Rita Silva, Rita Veloso, Rogério Roque Amaro, Rosa Guilhermina Lomba Coreia Guedes, Rui Bebiano, Rui Junqueira Lopes, Rui Maia, Rui Onofre, Rui Viana Pereira, Sandra Monteiro, Sandra Paiva, Sandro Mendonça, Sara Boavida, Sara Falcão Casaca, Sara Gamito, Sara Rocha, Sérgio Manso Pinheiro, Sofia Roque, Susana de Sousa Dias, Teresa Dias Coelho, Teresa Sales, Tiago Gillot, Tiago João de Lemos Peixoto Martins, Timóteo Macedo, Ulisses Garrido, Vasco Lourenço, Viriato Sousa, Vítor Dias, Vitor Santos, Vítor Sarmento

International support:

Leonidas Vatikiotis (Greek audit commission), Jean-Claude Chailley (French audit commission), Michel Husson (ATTAC-France), Eric Toussaint (CADTM Belgica), Pierre Khalfa (Fondation Copernic (France)), Tim Jenkins (Great Transition Initiative), Tim Jones (Jubilee Debt Campaign), Andrew Simms (New Economics Foundation), Prof. Costas Lapavitsas (Research on Money and Finance), Susan George (Transnational Institute), Dr. Ozlem Onaran (University of Westminster), Jeff Powell (Research on Money and Finance), Jacques Cossart (ATTAC-France), Marc Mangenot (Economist), Francine Bavay (Conseillere regional d'Ile-de-France), Maurice Fabrot (CADTM Belgique), Catherine Samary (Universite Paris Dauphine), Jean-Marie Harribey (Universite Bourdeaux IV), Veronic Gallais (ATTAC France), Giorgos Galanix (CADTM), James Meadway (New Economics Foundation), Louis Adam (Expert comptable), Thomas Coutrot (Co-presidente Attac França; Collectif pour un Audit Citoyen), Aurélie Trouvé (Co-presidente Attac França), Frédéric Lemaire (Attac França), Maria Katsantoni (General Secretariat for youth in Greece), Spyros Marchetos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Iolanda Fresnillo (Observatorio de la Deuda en la Globalización)