Pope Francis advocated for an international bankruptcy process on Monday during a press conference, as his tour in Latin America was ending.
“If a company can declare bankruptcy, why can't a country do so and we go to the aid of others?" said the pope in response to a question regarding the Greek debt crisis.
He added that too many countries are struggling with massive debts and advocated for a type of United Nations bankruptcy proposal – an idea which was approved in September 2014 in the organization's General Assembly.
The proposal is scheduled to be examined more closely in a few months, while the International Monetary Fund has also been exploring the perspectives of a bankruptcy process since April 2013, as debt is considered a cause of inequality.
According to World Bank statistics, almost 50 countries face a similar debt crisis to Greece’s, heavily stressed by the possibility of an economic downturn or a sudden jump in interest rates on world debt markets.
“Since 2012, there’s been a huge increase in sovereign debt, in Africa in particular,” told the Guardian Judith Tyson of the Overseas Development Institute thinktank. Among them, some were beneficiaries of the debt relief programme that G8 leaders signed up to at the Gleneagles summit in 2005, reported the Guardian. “They were given debt relief with the idea that it would give a clean slate to go forward,” Tyson says.