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Professor Co-Signs Economic Statement Regarding Greek Financial Crisis

By Brent Forgues, MA Candidate, Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration  

DENVER—Feb. 13, 2015—A professor of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies recently co-signed an economic statement welcoming Greece’s new government, while advocating cooperation among the international community in an effort to resolve the Greek financial crisis. 

Illene Grabel, a professor of international economics, signed the “Statement on Greece,” on Jan. 26 alongside six other members of the Scientific Board of the Progressive Economy Initiative. The board serves as the scientific advisory group for the Socialist and Democrat Caucus of the European Parliament. In May 2014, the board issued a report that called for a “new egalitarian ideal for Europe.” Parts of this report subsequently appeared in an article in Challenge magazine (2014, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp. 5-17).

“The timing of the Greek elections led some board members to release a joint statement just as the new Greek government is in dialogue with fellow Eurozone Finance Ministers, the European Community, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” Grabel said.

The statement, which is a little more than 250 words, greets “the decision of the Greek people to elect a new government committed to fundamental change in the policies of Greece and of Europe.”

However, the statement concludes with a call on international institutions “to reject all threats and intimidation aimed at the new government of Greece,” as well as to intervene when necessary, and “to quell speculative attacks on that country as negotiations proceed.”

Grabel said that although the board understands that its statement is but one of many in the dialogue around Greece, she still hopes that it can be helpful to those working in and with Greece to design a resolution to the on-going crisis. “More austerity is neither feasible nor sustainable in Greece (or for the Eurozone more broadly),” she said, “and it is time for more cooperation and bold thinking that aims to develop innovative, realistic, and equitable solutions to the Greek crisis.”

The board, which was assembled two years ago, meets periodically in Brussels, Belgium to discuss with one another and with European parliamentarians the direction of European economic policy. At the board’s most recent meeting, in December 2014, the group evaluated a new investment plan proposed by the President of the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Grabel’s research has tended to focus primarily on global financial policy, institutions, and the financial systems of developing countries. She said participating on the board has been rewarding for her, particularly since countries on the European periphery are facing some of the challenges long confronted by developing economies.

Her work with the board has also given her first-hand experience with the financial tumult in Greece and Europe, which Grabel said allows her to bring a real-world policy dimension to discussions in her classes at Korbel.