Cyprus Mail
Opinion Our View

Our View: When will the parties put the interests of the country first?

IT IS NOT that we are unaccustomed to the defiant posturing and emotive rhetoric by our politicians and parties but we had hoped that at least on serious matters they would suppress these populist instincts and show a rare sense of responsibility. These hopes were dashed in the last few weeks as political hysteria against the foreclosures bill was whipped up by the opposition parties, posing as the guardians of home-owners and defenders of national sovereignty.

We witnessed similar grandstanding 18 months ago, after the first Eurogroup meeting, which decided to impose a levy on all bank deposits, but the political parties, rejected it and we ended up with a much worse deal, including the haircut of deposits, a week later. Then, as now, the parties took a completely negative stance without any thought about the lack of alternatives – they said they would seek assistance from Russia – or the consequences of their emotional decision.

Exactly the same mistake is being made now. The parties submitted a host of proposed amendments to the foreclosures bill that would make it toothless and the Troika turned them down, rationally explaining its reasons for doing so. This sparked attacks on the government for bowing to the diktats of the lenders, who were behaving as neo-colonialists, instead of defending the interests of the people and our national dignity. As in March 2013, opposition parties are determined to reject the bill and to hell with the consequences.

But what would be the consequences? The next instalment of the loan would not be released. According to the government the state might be able to carry on making payments until November. After November there would be no money, the adjustment programme would have been derailed and the government would not be able to raise a cent in the markets. And what would happen to the banks when they undergo the stress tests in October? Their capital requirements would be much bigger as they would be unable to carry out foreclosures, and finding the required capital would become very difficult. Who would invest in banks that do not have the legal power to recover bad debts? Who will leave their deposits in Cypriot banks?

None of our irresponsible politicians have had the decency to answer these questions so people would know what the rejection of the foreclosures bill would be. DIKO chief and chairman of the House finance committee Nicolas Papadopoulos claimed that the consequences of passing the bill – foreclosures on primary residences and small businesses -would be much worse than the consequences of rejecting it. Conveniently, he has not mentioned what the consequences of rejecting the bill would be so that people would have a clearer picture.

We hope that the parties will eventually come to their senses, put the interests of the country first and act responsibly, because the alternative is too frightening to think about.

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