Ex-FinMin Varoufakis seeks opposition proposals on NPLs

Ex-FinMin Varoufakis seeks opposition proposals on NPLs

The head of the MeRA 25 party and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has sent a letter to the leaders of Greece’s left and center-left opposition calling for alternative proposals to the center-right government’s plan for clearing non-performing loans.

In a letter addressed to SYRIZA chief and former prime minister Alexis Tsipras, Movement for Change’s Fofi Gennimata and the Greek Communist Party’s Dimitris Koutsoumbas, Varoufakis invited opposition leaders to a “sincere and open dialogue” on the issue of bad debts burdening Greek banks, which have the highest ratio of NPLs in the European Union at around 40 percent.

“Any solution needs to start with the right diagnosis: the en masse sale of NPLs prevents any form of protection for primary residence or small- and medium-sized businesses,” Varoufakis said in his letter.

“If the sales continue, this will desperately exacerbate the social and economic crisis (while depreciating the value of the banks). We therefore have a duty to find an alternative, rational solution that will halt the sales, restructure the banks and at the same time protect debtors who have fallen victim to the crisis,” he said.

Greek banks have been tackling NPLs with a combination of tools, including selling large chunks of bad debt to investment funds, auctioning foreclosed properties and restructuring loans.

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