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Sovereign Debt Risks


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  • General description

    The goal of this course is to enable an understanding of the risks in sovereign debt; and particularly those risks relating to sovereign default and restructuring.

    The course is structured around the life cycle of a default; with an emphasis on trying to understand the different stages of a crisis and making predictions regarding how the crisis will play out. Participants will get an basic exposure to both the economic and legal considerations involved in the operation of any sovereign debt crisis.

    The course, in addition to exposing participants to the dynamics of a sovereign crisis, will use a case study of either a recent or ongoing crisis to illustrate how restructuring plans get designed.

  • Topics covered

    • The Sources of Sovereign Credit Risk – Law and Economics
    • The Techniques to Deal with Sovereign Crises — Bailouts and Restructurings
    • Case Studies of Two Past Crises and Restructurings: Greece (2012) & Argentina (2001)

    Course modules

    1. How do sovereign borrowers get into trouble?
    2. The warning signs of sovereign distress.
    3. Initial maneuvers to escape and evade the crisis.
    4. The options when the initial maneuvers don’t work — bailout or restructure
    5. The evolution of sovereign debt restructuring techniques — 1982 to 2017
    6. The role of the official sector
    7. Contractual provisions that facilitate, or that retard, sovereign debt workouts
    8. Sovereign debt restructuring after Greece and Argentina
  • How the course will work

    On Day 1, instructors will adopt the conventional discussion/lecture format with background readings and case studies.
    On Day 2, using what discussed the previous game plus the background experiences of the various students and instructors, instructors will run a simulation of a sovereign restructuring (sometimes referred to as a “war game” scenario).

    Total course length: 12 hours.

    A certificate of attendance will be provided to all participants after the course.

  • Meet the instructors

    Lee Buchheit is Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh. Previously, he was a lawyer at a major firm in New York, designing and implementing sovereign debt restructurings for much of the past twenty-five years.

    Mitu Gulati is Professor of Law at Duke University.

    Jeromin Zettelmeyer is the former Director General of Economic Affairs of Germany, currently Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics.

    Either together or separately, Buchheit, Gulati and Zettelmeyer have been involved in either the design of or research on every major sovereign debt restructuring over the past two decades.
    All three have worked extensively on the recent European sovereign debt crisis, and specifically on the Greek debt crisis. In addition, among the countries and regions whose debt crises they have worked on – either in research or practitioner capacity – are Iraq, Ireland, Cyprus, Argentina, Uruguay, Belize, Mexico, Iceland, Ecuador, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

  • Prerequisites

    Degree in social sciences.

  • Fees

    1750€ – Public Authorities (e.g. National Competent Authorities, Central Banks) and European Institutions

    1900€ – Private Sector

    1000€ – Academics (Assistant, Associate or Full Professors)

    850€ – Students (with certificate of studies)

    The course fee covers coffee and lunch breaks. Travel and hotel costs are not included.


    • In case of registration of 3 participants from the same organisation, the course fee is waived for one of them.
      To benefit from the deal, the names of the 3 participants have to be communicated to fbf@eui.eu before registering. We cannot communicate the names of other registered people from the same institution (it is upon your responsibility to get in touch with your HR division). A single debit note will be issued for the 3 participants followed by one payment.
    • Special deals apply for larger groups.


    • In case a course is cancelled, registered participants will receive the full refund.
    • In case a course is moved to another date, registered participants may request a voucher to attend another FBF course.
    • Registered participants who have not yet paid the registration fee can cancel their participation until one month before the start of the course.
    • The registration fee is non-refundable, however it will be possible to transfer registration to another person or request a voucher for another FBF course up to 20 days before the start date of the course.

    For more details, please contact fbf@eui.eu
  • Practical information


    Please notice that the course dinner, and most of the social activities, will take place downtown.

    Recommended hotels nearby the EUI:

    Recommended hotels in downtown Florence:

    Suggested restaurants in Florence city centre


    On arrival, participants will be provided with temporary wi-fi access for the whole duration of the course.

    Privacy Notice

    The personal information you have provided will be processed in compliance with the EUI Privacy Statement for conferences. For general queries: fbf@eui.eu


    General information on local transport

    From Florence airport:

    Florence airport is located 8 km from the city centre, approximately 30 minutes by taxi or bus. Taxis can be found outside the arrivals terminal; no reservation is needed. A taxi ride from the airport costs about €20 and takes approximately 25/30 minutes.

    A tramway (line T2) connects the airport to the city centre. Trains leave from the airport terminal and take 20 minutes to the main railway station. One-way tickets can be bought from vending machines for €1.50.

    The airport is also connected to the main railway station in Florence by a shuttle bus (‘Vola in bus’) that leaves every 30 minutes (on the hour and on the half-hour) and takes 25 minutes. Tickets are available on board for €6.00.

    From the central railway station:

    Take bus n. 7 at the bus stop Stazione Nazionale in the direction “Fiesole Piazza Mino”, get off at the stop ‘San Domenico 01’. For bus routes and timetables consult the official timetable.

    Bus tickets are sold outside the railway station, at ATAF ticket kiosks and vending machines, tobacconists (tabacchi), newspaper kiosks (edicole), and most cafes (bar). They must be bought before boarding and stamped using the machine on the bus. A ticket costs €1.50 and it is valid for 90 minutes. Bus tickets can be purchased also on board (€ 2.50), but the driver is not obliged to give change.

    Private car

    From the A1 Milano-Napoli (Autostrada del Sole), take the Firenze Sud exit and follow directions to the city centre/Stadio. Follow the directions to the stadium (Stadio), then for Fiesole. San Domenico is on the main road to Fiesole.

    The EUI has several free parking areas available all over the Campus.

  • Course material

    Registered participants can access the course material using the password provided by the FBF secretariat.