No agreement on lifting ban on home repossessions

Negotiations to continue at a technical level

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Development ministry officials tell troika again that issue of lifting the ban on home repossessions by banks is a difficult one politically for the coalition parties

Poul Thomsen, the IMF third of the troika Poul Thomsen, the IMF third of the troika The government and the troika made no progress on the issue of ending the suspension on home repossessions by banks at their meeting on Wednesday, a senior development ministry official has said.

"We reiterated our positions and described the climate in both parties of the government," the semiofficial ANA news agency quoted the official.

Negotiations will continue in the near future at a technical level, the official added, with an aim is to reaching an agreement by the end of the year.

The troika is demanding that the ban on bank repossessions of homes and evictions be lifted totally on January 1. The government insists that any lifting of the ban should not affect weak households and needs to have the approval of both coalition partners.

In the past week, the government has spoken of the need to protect the "genuine" or "really" poor from evictions and repossessions, without clarifying who qualifies as poor.


On Tuesday, a senior prosecutor said that lifting the ban on foreclosure auctions of residences could have an impact comparable to the disastrous Asia Minor campaign of 1922, which led to an exchange of populations and the mass influx of refugees to Greece.

"It will be a second Asia Minor disaster," said public prosecutor Vasilis Floridis, a former chairman of the independent authority for public contracts.

"What no one understands today is that the people at risk of losing their homes are not losing them under normal circumstances but in a state of global crisis. Therefore, this thing will have a mass effect. We are not talking about someone that bought a house, miscalculated and lost it," Floridis pointed out.

"We are talking about mass auctions. If this happens - which I don't believe, because I envisage that the prime minister and the government and chiefly the MPs will refuse to pass such laws - for me this will mean a second Asia Minor disaster," he said.


Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will have another meeting with the troika heads at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

A senior official in his ministry was quoted in ANA as saying that "there is convergence in all matters, even in foreclosures".

"The chances are 60-40 that we will have an agreement by December 9," he added.

He concluded that the troika is not longer asking for the sudden shuttering of public utilities or the state-owned arms manufacturer Hellenic Defence Systems (EAS).

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