On Tuesday, July 27, after a two-hour debate, the Cyprus Parliament lifted the previously approved moratorium on foreclosures.
By the way, the deputies held a second vote because of a letter from the President of the country, in which he expressed his disagreement with the amendments to the bill.
In particular, 11 deputies of the DYSI party voted “for” the suspension of sales of mortgage housing, 23 deputies of the parties AKEL, DIKO, DIPA, Greens, 6 more deputies from the parties EDEK and ELAM abstained.
It is worth noting that the results of the new vote came as a complete surprise to some members of Parliament.
Thus, Zacharias Koulias, who chaired the meeting, called on the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus to send to Parliament the conclusions he made on the eve of new amendments.
I urge the head of the Central Bank to send a letter to the Parliament within a day and send it to all the deputies, - he said.
Koulias' appeal was followed by statements by other deputies about "hiding the letter from parliament." It must be said that the plenary meeting followed immediately after the closed meeting of the Finance Committee, which was not attended by the summoned Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General.
During the voting at the plenary session of the Parliament, AKEL MP and member of the Finance Committee Aristos Damianou described the withdrawal of the bill as "a political act causing cynicism, extremism and social analgesia." In addition, he mentioned the fact that the previous time, on the eve of the parliamentary elections, there was no such reaction on the part of the president and his entourage. He stressed that in September, after AKEL returns from summer holidays, she intends to restore the balance between banks and borrowers through consultations with other parties.
The purpose of the amendment is solely to prolong and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The government's policy is to insist on repatriation, not to force us and not be threatened by anyone, said DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou.
The deputy of the EDEK party, Marinos Sizopoulos, noted that the issue of selling distressed real estate is turning into the third most important social problem facing Cyprus.
He stressed that the government often hides behind amendments to the law, which ultimately only work to the detriment of banks and borrowers.
DIPA MP Alekos Tryfonides referred to the inconsistency “between the legal service institutions and the Central Bank”, pointing out that three months ago the same regulation with larger sums was constitutional.
The deputy from the "Green" party, Stavros Papadouris, referred to a letter from the ECB, which, according to him, the deputies did not know about.
It is doubtful why we were not informed. The letter is dated July 20th, while the law was submitted for reconsideration on July 23rd. Obviously, the president knew about the letter and its contents, Papadouris said.
Responding to opposition arguments and criticism, DYSI MP Onufrios Kullas referred to a misunderstanding about what the Central Bank's letter says. He noted that the text is based on the fact that officials need to protect viable borrowers and companies, while MPs are going to do the opposite, protecting chronic debtors.
Finally, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said that the authorities take into account the data provided on the sale of real estate, especially those related to working with vulnerable groups of the population, and with all seriousness and responsibility they intend to continue to pursue policies that will benefit all citizens.
As you may know, on July 9, the Cyprus Parliament extended the moratorium until the end of October 2021.
Problem borrowers received another grace period for 3 months. Officials have decided to suspend the sale of property, which is used as the main residence and the value of which does not exceed 350 thousand euros. Also under the moratorium were the commercial premises of companies whose annual turnover does not exceed 750 thousand euros.
Finally, the government has frozen the sale of agricultural land worth up to €100,000. However, the President of the country Nicos Anastasiades did not agree with this decision. He sent the bill for a second vote. As a result, the deputies canceled another moratorium on the sale of mortgaged real estate. This means that in the near future local banks will be able to actively sell the accumulated assets of problem borrowers.
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