Revised program for the Copenhagen debate on the Modest Proposal: Friday 30th September

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) has the pleasure of inviting you to a seminar on:

To Bond or Not to Bond? 

Could Eurobonds Save the Euro from its Debt Crisis?

Friday, 30 September 2011 09.00-12.00

Danish Institute for International Studies, Main Auditorium, Strandgade 71, ground floor, 1401 Copenhagen K

Background

In recent weeks, issuance of Eurobonds has moved centre stage in debates over how to deal with the escalating sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Speaking to the European Parliament last week, José Manuel Barroso announced that the European Commission “will soon present options on how the Euro zone might issue bonds jointly”.

Gideon Rachman promptly responded in his Financial Times column arguing that Barroso is “wasting valuable time by demanding solutions such as Eurobonds that are never going to happen”, not least because of strong German opposition to any joint underwriting of sovereign debts. Daniel Gros, Director of the Centre of European Policy Studies in Brussels, similarly contends that the notion that Eurobonds can somehow be the silverbullet in solving the Euro crisis is an illusion.

However, there are strong reasons to pause and reflect before rejecting the Eurobond option. First, there is no sign that the current strategy of ‘emergency loans and fiscal austerity’ is working. While a key objective of previous emergency packages forGreecehas been to prevent contagion to countries such asPortugal,SpainandItaly, the debt crisis has indeed accelerated and spread to those countries.

If the current strategy is not working, a new one is badly needed. Unfortunately, conceivable alternatives are few – and not very attractive. A Greek default may ultimately be inevitable – as Nouriel Roubini argues. But a Greek default in itself would most likely aggravate rather than alleviate the Euro crisis, with risk of accelerating contagion to Italian and maybe even French sovereign debts. It is therefore not unlikely that overcoming the Euro crisis will involve both a Greek default, large-scale issuance of Eurobonds to stem contagion, and a recapitalization of European banks.

In this highly precarious situation, we wish to invite a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of various Eurobond options. Could Eurobonds be an essential component of a new strategy for dealing with the Euro crisis, or is the Euro simply destined to collapse?

We are delighted that Professor Yanis Varoufakis and Professor Jesper Jespersen have accepted our invitation to speak at this seminar. Varoufakis is a critic of previous responses to the Euro crisis and leading proponent of the proposal to convert a share of an EU member’s sovereign debt into

Eurobonds, while Jespersen is a long-time Eurosceptic who argues that the collapse of the Euro will in fact be good news forEurope and its citizens.

Speakers

Yanis Varoufakis, Professor,University of Athens,Greece

Jesper Jespersen, Professor,RoskildeUniversity

Jens Thomsen, former Director of the Danish Central Bank

Jakob Vestergaard, Senior Researcher, DIIS

Programme

09.00-09.10      Introduction

                           Jakob Vestergaard, Senior Researcher, DIIS

09.10-09.40      Overcoming the Euro Crisis: A Eurobond Approach

                           Yanis Varoufakis, Professor,University of Athens,Greece

09.40-10.10       Why Eurobonds will not Solve the Euro Crisis

                           Jesper Jespersen, Professor, Roskilde University

10.10-10.30        Coffee Break

10.30-11.00        Eurobonds: solution, or not solution?

                           Jens Thomsen, former Director of the Danish Central Bank

11.00-11.30         Eurobond Options Considered by the European Commission

                           [Speaker TBA]

11.30-12.15         Comments and Questions

Chair: Jakob Vestergaard, Senior Researcher, DIIS

Practical Information

The seminar will be held in English.

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please use our online registration form no later than Thursday, 29 September at 12.00 noon.

Please await confirmation by e-mail from DIIS for participation. 

Sincerely,

Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS)

The Conference Section, Strandgade 56, DK-1401 CopenhagenK, Denmark, Ph. (+45) 32 69 87 51, , fax (+45) 32 69 87 00, E-mail: [email protected] Web: www.diis.dk

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