M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: George Chouliarakis

Tuesday, April 13, 4:30-5:30
Zoom meeting. Register using a Harvard.edu email address, if available.

Join M-RCBG Senior Fellow George Chouliarakis (former finance minister of Greece), Heiko Hesse (Senior Economist at the Strategy, Policy and Review Department of the IMF), Anne-Laure Kiechel, (founder and CEO of Global Sovereign Advisory - an independent organization advising states on public policy and sovereign debt issues), Yannis Manuelides (Partner and Head of Sovereigns and International Institutions practice at Allen & Overy), and Ugo Panizza (Professor of International Economics, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva) for an in-depth discussion of the economic outlook of Emerging Market and Low-Income Countries after the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a steep increase in the public debt levels of a wide swathe of emerging market and low-income countries. Some of them have already defaulted. Many others have been able to maintain capital market access only thanks to exceptionally favorable global liquidity conditions. Yet, as their financing needs increase substantially and concurrently, and the financial market mindset changes, the specter of a new large wave of sovereign debt defaults is reemerging. How can we avoid a ‘lost decade’ of economic instability and low growth? What can governments and multilateral lenders do to restore fiscal sustainability? How can they make debt restructuring more expedient? And how can economic policy in advanced market economies support the recovery in the rest of the world?

George Chouliarakis outside informal head shotGeorge Chouliarakis was the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers of Greece from February 2015 to July 2019 and the Alternate Minister of Finance of Greece - responsible for fiscal policy, the government budget, medium-term fiscal strategy, and public debt – from August 2015 to July 2019. From May to August 2015 he served as head of the technical negotiations for Greece that led to the Third Economic Adjustment Programme, an agreement that prevented Greece’s disorderly exit from the European Monetary Union. He subsequently served as interim Finance Minister in the run up to the elections of September 2015. Since then and until the parliamentary elections of July 7th, 2019, he had a pivotal role in guiding the economy through one of the most challenging times in its modern history. He oversaw the design and successful implementation of the fiscal consolidation program 2015-2018, which restored fiscal policy credibility and enabled Greece to regain market access. He also conducted the technical negotiations for Greece that led to the vital debt relief agreement of June 2018. He served as a member of the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG), an alternate member of the Eurogroup, a member of the Board of Directors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), and a member of the Economic Policy Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Prior to assuming his policy-making duties, he taught macroeconomics, international economics and economic history as a tenured faculty member of the University of Manchester and, previously, of the University of Essex. He holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Athens, an MSc in Economics from the University of London and a PhD in Economics from the University of Warwick. As a Senior Fellow, his research will focus on the role of fiscal policy in coping with future large shocks (project title: Preparing for future shocks: lessons from the global financial crisis for fiscal policy and the EMU). His faculty sponsor is Jason Furman, Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. His email is:  gchouliarakis@hks.harvard.edu