Cyprus Mail

Government ready to tackle any ‘reasonable’ party concerns on foreclosures bill

The government will amend a raft of bills and proposals further to include party suggestions in a bid to secure approval of vital legislation on foreclosures.

“Parties will express their views after they receive the final text of the bills,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said after a lengthy meeting with party leaders chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades.

The spokesman said Anastasiades has the will and is working to tackle “any reasonable” concerns raised in relation with the foreclosures bill.

“We are working towards this direction and we think, (and) hope, that we will come to a positive outcome, which will strengthen our country’s path to recovery, which has already started with the sacrifices – above all – of the Cypriot people who appears to support this effort through their stance,” Christodoulides said.

Approval of the bill is necessary before international lenders release the next tranche of bailout funds. The government has warned that funds would run out by November without the money.

Failure to pass an effective foreclosures framework would also have negative effects on the island’s fragile banking system and undo all the work and sacrifices of the past year.

The government, Christodoulides said, was in constant contact with international lenders.

“We have certain obligations and everyone knows about these obligations. Despite the difficulties we hope to have a positive outcome,” the spokesman said. “This is the aim so that the country won’t be led into any new adventures.”

Former government partner DIKO — the party on which the government is counting on to push the bill through — said the legislation’s fate depended on the administration.

“The key are the final proposals the government will adopt,” DIKO deputy chairman Christos Patsalides said.

He said there have been improvements to the general framework but the final text had to be studied.

Patsalides said the final debate on the bill will take place in parliament, possibly next Friday.

The government is having a hard time convincing DIKO chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos, who previously supported the administration over the terms of the bailout, saying the quickest way to get rid of them was to implement them.

Observers suggest his motives are more political than anything else – preparing the ground for a shot at the presidency.

But ignoring the warnings could have a high cost for the country, footed once more by the ordinary people parties claim they are trying to protect.

The same parties – DIKO, AKEL, EDEK — opposing the foreclosures bill today were the ones that rejected the first deposit haircut on all banks proposed by the EU as a way to recapitalize banks. Though ruling DISY also took the populist way out and abstained. All this without a alternative plan.

The rejection forced the closure of Laiki Bank 10 days later and put Bank of Cyprus on a respirator. Parties have done little to acknowledge their mistake.

It would not be a surprise if the vote on the bill splits DIKO in two.

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said his party’s philosophy differed from what they had before them at the moment as regards foreclosures.

“And that is why we insist that changes must be made to the (foreclosures) bill,” he said. That is something international lenders do not appear to agree with although they are more flexible about the general framework.

Kyprianou said they will wait for the cabinet to finalise the bills and take a stance after they were studied.

DISY leader Averof Neophytou said the government proposals were in the right direction.

“Foreclosures are a useful tool to recover the loans of bad large borrowers,” he said “and it must be accompanied by measures to protect prudent and co-operative households and small and medium businesses.”


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