Foreclosures will not affect socially weak, says PM, Venizelos [UPDATE]

There will be no foreclosures on homes belonging to underprivileged social groups, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Thursday following talks with his deputy, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.

“The primary residences of socially weak citizens and whoever is demonstrably unable to meet loan payments due to the crisis will be absolutely protected,” Samaras said. “That is not subject to negotiation. Period.” The premier added that the government was studying a framework of reforms that would secure the vulnerable but would also prohibit abusive behavior and seek to protect mortgage credit.

Leaving the Maximos Mansion, Venizelos was asked by reporters whether an agreement had been reached on the issue of foreclosures. “I think so, yes,” the deputy premier said.

The PASOK chief suggested that the ban would be partially lifted with the onus being on homeowners who have the ability to pay their loan payments but are not doing so while low-income Greeks genuinely unable to pay would be protected.

“I have said repeatedly that the primary home of the poor and middle-level household, which is suffering due to the crisis, is and will remain absolutely protected,” Venizelos said. He referred to a small minority of “crafty individuals” hiding behind those who are genuinely in need, adding that the chief issue is not that of foreclosures but of restoring the ability of banks to offer mortgage credit.

Venizelos added that several other issues were discussed during the meeting, which was also attended by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis.