By George Psyllides
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades will on Thursday seek to convince his EU colleagues that Cyprus has met the conditions for the release of the next tranche of its bailout assistance after the Supreme Court rejected four pieces of legislation passed by opposition parties to limit the scope of the foreclosures law.
However, the minister expressed caution regarding the intentions of the opposition.
“Of course, it is very possible, that the Eurogroup might also assess the political situation in Cyprus,” Georgiades said.
Following the rejection of the bills by the Supreme Court, opposition parties said they were trying to find ways to protect people’s primary residences and small businesses from repossession.
Main opposition AKEL has tabled a bill that suspends the foreclosures law for six months, until the end of June 2015.
The foreclosures law was passed in September but provisions regarding primary residences were suspended until the beginning of next year. By then, authorities hope they will have in place the insolvency framework that will include a safety net for vulnerable groups affected by the downturn.
EDEK and the Green party tabled a bill that seeks to suspend the law until the beginning of the year.
Under the terms of its bailout agreement, Cyprus must enact effective foreclosures legislation, seen as necessary to tackle rising non performing loans.
Approval of the four bills by the opposition in September prompted international lenders to withhold the next tranche of assistance until Cyprus complied.
Georgiades said it was not proper to get into a public discussion with political parties over their intentions.
“But I consider it crucial to try and come to an understanding and co-operate,” the minister said.
He said the objectives were common and “I think that we can even manage the political disagreements in a responsible way that would not create additional problems for the Cypriot economy. Instead, it will create a way out and allow the continuation of the course to recovery.”
EDEK MP Nicos Nicolaides said on Wednesday the party, together with the Greens, has submitted a proposal to suspend the law until the start of 2015.
He later told the Cyprus Mail that it was not just the primary residences.
Nicolaides said the law provided for indiscriminate foreclosures without protecting vulnerable groups.
Asked if they had considered the potential repercussions if the bill passed, Nicolaides said the solution was for the insolvency framework to be submitted to parliament immediately.