March 5. 2024. 8:12

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Court ruling on auctions upsets Greeks before elections


Greece’s Supreme Court has ruled that loan management companies can conduct auctions on behalf of “funds” that have bought packages of red loans. In practice, this means that hundreds of thousands of people risk losing their first residence at a sensitive time before the national elections.

According to Greek press reports, the new ruling makes it easier for these companies, known as servicers, to conduct auctions and significantly decreases the leverage of debtors.

For their part, servicers insist that even after the decision, their objective is not to increase auctions but rather put pressure on almost 700,000 debtors to regulate their loans sustainably.

The court’s ruling comes at a politically sensitive time, just a few months before the elections, and analysts suggest that it may have a backlash on the ruling New Democracy party (EPP).

Anti-government media reported that citizens were calling the ruling party’s headquarters over the weekend, complaining about the ruling and threatening to take revenge in the ballots.

The main opposition leftist Syriza party lashed out against the government, saying that it once again bows to the pressure of banks.

“The first piece of legislation of the next progressive government will be to protect the first residence and debt settlement for all citizens,” main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras said in a televised statement.

For its part, the government hinted that it might intervene with legislation to improve the so-called “extrajudicial mechanism” but clarified that the first residence could not be protected if the loans were not repaid.

“We should not give the impression to some that if they owe, they will never pay back”, government spokesman Yannis Oikonomou said.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)