Samaras to look at issue of repossessions, discuss with Venizelos

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday sought to put the brakes on speculation about the government pressing forward with a controversial initiative to lift a moratorium on home repossessions and auctions following widespread political opposition to the scheme which he is to discuss today or tomorrow with his coalition partner and deputy, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.

According to sources, Samaras described the issue of repossessions Tuesday as “significant” and said he planned to “look into the issue personally.”

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras – one of several ministers who met with Samaras Tuesday at a mini-cabinet meeting at the Maximos Mansion in Athens – told reporters that talks focused on the progress of economic reforms and did not touch on the issue of repossessions.

Samaras’s intervention followed a series of leaks from the ministry which have fueled rumors about who would be affected by an initiative to lift a ban on home repossessions at the end of this year.

Deputies from both parties in the coalition have reportedly pressed Stournaras as well as Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis for details about which social groups would be exempted from the measure as well as information regarding the exact number of mortgage holders and their ability to meet loan repayments to banks.

A spokeswoman for the Communist Party (KKE), Diamanto Manolakou, said yesterday that the party would actively block any attempts by state bailiffs to remove mortgage holders from their homes.