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Repossession law suspension only does harm

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By George Psyllides

Suspension of the foreclosures law only did harm to the country, the borrowers association said on Friday, adding its voice to those who suggest that opposition parties were engaging in populist antics that ultimately hindered the island’s recovery.

“There is no substantive benefit for borrowers,” said association chairman Costas Melas. “On the contrary, our country has suffered damage in the sense that it is losing is credibility, something that also hurts borrowers.”

Opposition parties on Thursday extended the suspension of the foreclosures law for another month, ignoring the fact that repossessions cannot be carried out as the necessary regulations have not been passed yet.

The opposition has been at it since last September, blemishing Cyprus’ otherwise impeccable track record when it came to the implementation of the bailout adjustment programme.

The move prompted lenders to withhold part of the tranche and suspend the progress review.

It could also deprive Cyprus of access to the European Central Bank’s recently announced quantitative easing programme.

The opposition said it is protecting vulnerable groups until the insolvency framework was put in place. That delay can be blamed on the government, which still has not prepared the last of five bills.

But Melas suggested that parliament could have let things be and move to suspend if they saw that banks tried to foreclose.

Some have suggested that opposition parties were effectively protecting troubled big borrowers, developers mainly, and not the vulnerable.

On Thursday, Ruling DISY was ready to submit a compromise proposal to exempt primary residences from repossession until the insolvency framework was in place but the opposition disagreed.

“It only does damage. There is no benefit really,” Melas said.

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