The Current

Who's to blame for Greece's debt: the lenders or the borrower?

It's not just the Greeks who think something is badly askew in the way the rest of Europe is handling the Greek debt crisis. Many are asking why Germany received debt forgiveness after World War II while Greece is offered none. What gives?
Economist for the Jubilee Debt Campaign says the IMF & the World Bank should forgive Greece its debt. He feels the institutions which lent the money are as much to blame for this crisis as the Greek government. (REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis )
Members of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group show placards at their desks during Tsipras's speech Wednesday. (Patrick Seeger/EPA)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was greeted with a chorus of cheers and jeers when he addressed the European Parliament earlier today. Just one day after German leader Angela Merkel, had this to say about a meeting between European creditors and the Greek leader, Alexis Tsipras.

"After the expiration of the second bailout and the very clear No in the Greek referendum, we still don't have a basis for restarting negotiations regarding a European stability mechanist program... This is not a matter of a few weeks, but of a few days."  - German leader Angela  Merkel

There's been intense frustration with Greece for not producing new bail-out proposals. Now Greece has been given five days - an emergency meeting of all 28 European Union leaders - not just those who use the Euro - is on for Sunday.  

Many Greeks feel Europe -- and Germany especially -- has got them pushed up against a wall, demanding ever more painful austerity measures in exchange for continued financing. 

And many economist have agreed, including the best-selling French author and economist Thomas Piketty -- who touched off a firestorm this week when he suggested the Germans are being hypocritical. After all, Germany had massive debts of its own forgiven, after the second world war... helping it become the leading European economy it is today.

The situation in Greece has many people talking about debt forgiveness and we were joined by two panelists to share their thoughts on the ethics and efficacy. 

Tim Jones is a policy officer and economist with the Jubilee Debt Campaign.  He was in London, England.

Susan Schadler is a Senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the former deputy director of the International Monetary Fund's European Department. She was in Boothbay, Maine.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sonya Buyting, Ines Colabrese and Howard Goldenthal.

Related Links

♦ Six key points about Greek debt (pdf) - Jubilee Debt Campaign
♦ Would forgiving Greece's debt really be that bad? - CNBC
​♦ ​Should Greece's debt be forgiven? - The Guardian
♦ Past Rifts Over Greece Cloud Talks on Rescue - The Wall Street Journal