ECB Insists on Property Auctions Across Greece



Police attend a Greek property auction in October 2016 (file photo)

An “effective auction system is an important part of the work” in cutting bad loans in Greece, the head of the European Central Bank has insisted.

Mario Draghi, replying to a letter from Greek MEP Nikolaos Chountis, said the controversial auctions are “expected to create the appropriate incentives for borrowers and lenders to step up the process of loan restructuring”.

However, “frequent disruptions and cancellations” to the hotly disputed auctions in recent years has meant the Greek authorities had to “ensure full geographical coverage across Greece”.

His remarks, dated Jan. 23, came the same day as Greek police said they did not want to be deployed to protect auctions of distressed properties.

Many auctions have been switched to an online format to avoid confrontations with protesters and the emotive issue has continued to dog Greece’s government, overshadowing moves towards exiting the country’s bailout program.

The government has committed to 10,000 real estate auctions in 2018 and 40,000 auctions per year over the next three years, from 2019 to 2021.