Cyprus Mail

‘No need to panic’ as foreclosures bill delayed

By George Psyllides

THERE was no need for panic over people losing their homes, the government said yesterday, as negotiations continued with the troika of international lenders in a bid to come to an agreement over the bill on foreclosures.

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said there was no need for panic and the ongoing negotiations should not be exploited to scare people.

“There will be safeguards for the people,” he told a lunchtime news show on state television.

The government’s aim was to protect the people, the spokesman said, and “everyone must understand this.”

Main opposition AKEL accused the government of keeping parties in the dark over the bill. The party said it understood the need for banks to be given the necessary tools to collect their dues but would never accept seizures of main residences and small business premises.

Initially, the bill was meant to be discussed by cabinet yesterday, but negotiations over its provisions were still ongoing.

The bill was not discussed by cabinet and since negotiations continue, we should not say more on the issue, Christodoulides said.

The main sticking point is a provision affording borrowers the right to appeal the foreclosure process in court.

Observers argue that this would provide protection to delinquent borrowers and will only serve to drag out foreclosure proceedings, much in the manner diagnosed as one of the current system’s core weaknesses, slowing down troubled lenders’ course to recovery.

The bill has acquired ‘prior action’ status, meaning it needs to be approved before the next tranche of international aid to Cyprus can be released, which will be decided at September’s Eurogroup session.

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