Belgium - CADTM

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CADTM : Committee for the Cancellation of the Third World Debt

The first goal of CADTM, or its attacking angle, is the cancellation of the external debt of the peripheral countries (Third world and former soviet union bloc) and the renunciation of the structural adjustment plan dictated by the trio of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organisation (OMC). We need to put an end to the infernal spiral of debt and to succeed in establishing development models with social justice and ecological sustainability. However, due to the current context it is important to emphasize that the CADTM is spreading its battlefield toward northern countries. It wants to take advantage of its 20 years of analysing experience to point out the similarities between today's debt crisis in northern countries and the debt crisis that southern countries faced in the beginning of the 80s. For the CADTM, cancellation of the peripheral countries exterior public debt is not an end in itself. It is more of a means and a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient for any real development. These cancellations have to come with several other measures in numerous fields : nationalisation of banks, agrarian reform, shift from military expenses to social and cultural expenses, etc. That's why the CADTM, beyond its specific work on debt, works closely with various social movements struggling on other issues ( World March of Women, Landless peasant movement, ATTAC, etc.).

Belgian political context

The Belgian context is defined by a major political crisis. After the parliamentary elections in june 2010, the results varied between the northern and the southern part of the country. In the wallonian part, elections had been won by the social democrat party (Parti Socialiste). In the flemish part, the NV-A got the majority, a nationalist party which wants a constitutional change in Belgium for the region to become more autonomous. The major parties never got an agreement to set up an institutional reform. The country has been run for the past 530 days by a current affair government. One should notice the lack of legitimacy of the governmnet is not preventing it from taking major decisions such as going to war in Libya, voting on the budget or the buying of a bank. A governement will supposedly be formed by the end of 2011.

Belgian debt

Belgium has so far been protected from the debt crisis, but it seems in the last weeks it has entered the storm. After the recent events Greece, Irland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, speculators are now targeting the Belgian sovereign debt. Interest rates have increased from less than 4% to almost 6% within 2 months which makes it difficult for the state to fund itself. Moreover, the cost of bank rescue following the crisis, and in particular the recent buy of Dexia (4 billion euros), is increasing the public debt. The differents parties agreed on an austerity budget which we will know in detail within the coming days. Regardless we can be certain that budget cut (11,3 billion euros) made to curb Belgium's 3% deficit will be carried on the workers backs.