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24.11.2021 | 10:0013:00 | online

Online seminar: Global debt crises – what role for the CEE/CIS region? Eurodad Policy Forum 2021

Die Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt.


Debt crises are not just a problem for large debtor countries in Latin America or the poorest countries in Africa. Countries in the CEE/CIS region are also affected by over-indebtedness. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, many countries in the region ran into payment difficulties.

Now in 2021, 15 out of 18 countries in the region are critically indebted. The main risks come from borrowing abroad. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also always played a central role, from the first shock liberalization in the 1990s after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc to the current austerity programme. The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating existing crises and increasing inequality in many developing countries. Many countries are struggling with weak health systems due to previous austerity measures. Because of their income, most countries in Eastern Europe/CIS are excluded from debt relief measures that the G20 and the IMF have created for developing countries to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, some countries of the region are in a double role of not only being a debtor, but also a relevant creditor to other developing countries, which implies a responsibility in debt crisis resolution either in bilateral cases and in global reform discussions.


  • Iolanda Fresnillo (Eurodad)
  • Kristina Rehbein (erlassjahr.de)
  • Marcin Wojtalik (IGO)
  • Ajda Pistotnik, Slovenia
  • Zvezdan Kalmar, Serbia
  • Daniyar Serikov, Kazakhstan


In the seminar, we would like to get a better understanding about debt in the region and implications for the work of civil society justice groups:

10.00Interactive introduction to get an understanding about prior knowledge and understanding of participants on the issue, including the basic concepts of debt (public vs private, types of creditors, cancellation vs restructuring vs reprofiling (15 min) (Iolanda Fresnillo – Eurodad)



Overview of the debt situation in the region (Kristina Rehbein)

  • The debt situation in the region: Which countries are critically indebted? (Including how to read and understand debt indicators (what is “debt sustainability”?))
  • Which countries are also relevant creditors to other developing countries?
  • What are reasons for debt development in the region prior to the pandemic? How are the pandemic and the resulting global recession affecting the region economically?
  • Country cases (5-7 min. per case): Debt experts from countries in the region present the specific situation in their country – Ajda Pistotnik (Slovenia), Zvezdan Kalmar (Serbia) and Daniyar Serikov (Kazakhstan)

Q&A (minutes)

10.5510 min. break
11.05Existing debt relief initiatives and how critically indebted countries benefit (or not) (Iolanda Fresnillo)
11.15CEE perspectives on debt relief: the role of internalised capitalism (Marcin Wojtalik – IGO)
11.25Regional and global reform processes and the prospective role of CEE/CIS countries in reforming the debt architecture
11.35Questions and discussion
11.5510 min. break
12.05How is civil society in the region working on debt? What aspects are particularly relevant to them / in their country? What are their demands? Including 3 country cases (5 min per case) with debt experts from the region (including reflection on the double role of being a debtor and creditor) and 1 case from southern Europe (Spain)
12.25Participants from the region share their ideas and views
12.35Interactive moderated mapping among participants:

  • Issues/aspects/processes, they see as most relevant in their debt work in the next 12 months
  • Issues/aspects/processes, they miss more information about
12.50Feedback round



Please register via Eurodad.




European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD)