In an open letter that was published on the Financial Times website yesterday, several Nobel Prize winning economists and acclaimed academics are calling for a reduction of the Greek debt, arguing that “the whole of Europe will benefit from Greece being given the chance of a fresh start.”
The letter, signed by Columbia University’s Prof. Joseph Stiglitz and Nobel Prize winner Prof. Chris Pissarides, among others, states that debt relief is a necessary condition for Greece to recover and develop a growing economy.
More specifically, the authors of the letter propose three forms of financial restructuring: First, a further increase in the grace period, so that Greece does not have to service any debt, for example for the next 5 years or until it shows clear signs of recovery. Second, some debt reduction, to further increase the fiscal space available, and third, significant funds for efficient investment projects, especially for exports.
However, the famous economists note that these measures are not the only thing the country needs to recover. “Greece must itself carry out reforms,” the letter underlines, although “it is important to distinguish austerity from reforms.”