Parliament on Friday rejected a government request to discuss as a matter of urgency five government bills relating to the management of non-performing loans and the state’s guarantee of the Co-op bank’s acquisition by Hellenic.
The government had submitted the bills in the morning, requesting they be discussed and voted through on the same day, as is the regulation regarding urgent issues, but the House plenum decided to refer them to the finance committee that will decide on the timetable.
Parliament had been scheduled to discuss developments at the Co-op bank that led to its sale to Hellenic, a deal, according to opposition parties, that was unfavourable.
Ruling Disy chief Averof Neophytou, who also chairs the finance committee, stressed that the bills must be put to the vote in the next plenary sessions and not be shelved until after the summer.
House President Demetris Syllouris said discussion of the Co-op had been decided on last week, although certain parties did suggest on Thursday that it should be postponed.
Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said the bills did not concern the discussion and questioned why people were even trying to connect the two matters.
Kyprianou added that when they had decided last week to discuss the Co-op they were aware that the bills were coming.
Of the suggestion that the discussion could possibly create problems for the Co-op bank, Kyprianou pointed out that the finance minister and the central bank had done exactly that with their statements on Thursday, sending people to Co-ops to withdraw their money.
Diko chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said discussion of the Co-op should not stop if it started on Friday. He disagreed with the position that the bills were not connected and censured Thursday’s statements that caused panic.
The Disy leader said the statements at the House watchdog committee had been prompted by MPs’ questions.
Neophytou said considering the risks, the finance committee had suggested avoiding the discussion at the watchdog committee.
“Certainly, it was not an MP who made the statements but if they had not replied we would have hanged them,” he said.
Akel MP Irini Charalambidou, who chaired the watchdog committee on Thursday, denied that the finance minister and the central bank official’s statements had been prompted by questions.
Charalambidou said the committee minutes would show that it was the central bank official who threatened a deposit seizure.