With Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras trying to convince his Deputy Premier Evangelos Venizelos to go ahead with ending a moratorium on foreclosures that is being demanded by the country’s international lenders, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said banks should be allowed to begin confiscating homes next year if no deal is reached.
The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) wants Greece to allow banks to go after homes valued under 200,000 euros ($272,700) that are now being protected under a ban approved by a previous PASOK Socialist government which Venizelos served as finance minister.
Venizelos, whose party was brought into a coalition with Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives so they would have a majority in the Parliament, is said to be reluctant to allow the foreclosures after he earlier supported them before previously opposing them.
Stournaras, who has championed increasingly tough austerity measures and more taxes, reportedly said the government must draft legislation to allow foreclosures even if the government can’t agree with the Troika on whether to lift the ban against seizing primary residences.
A number of lawmakers from New Democracy have said they won’t go along with allowing foreclosures on the homes of people who can’t afford to pay their mortgages because of big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions implemented by the government, jeopardizing the coalition.