ATHENS – Greece’s international lenders are holding up a 2-billion euro ($2.15 billion) installment until the government lets banks foreclose on homes, many owned by people who can’t pay because of harsh austerity measures put on them.
At the same time, the former ruling New Democracy Conservatives and PASOK Socialists are being allowed to default on 250 million euros ($268.34 million) in bad loans they received with virtually no collateral.
Greece is going to get a third bailout, this one for 86 billion euros ($92.31 billion) but in return Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is readying more brutal conditions on people he vowed to protect, including pensioners and homeowners.
Kathimerini said that the key stumbling block is primary residence foreclosures. Greece has put forward stricter criteria that protects 60 percent of homeowners but the protections would gradually be lifted, allowing banks to tak even primary homes.
“There is a distance with lenders on that issue, and I don’t think that we will have an agreement soon,” a government official told Reuters.
The issue is set to be discussed at a meeting of Eurozone finance chiefs on Nov. 9. Tsipras spoke on the phone with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, while French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were also said to have talked about.
Tsipras – who was re-elected in a Sept. 20 snap election even after reneging on his promises – is feeling the heat, however, with a national strike called on Nov. 12 and is said to be digging in his heels, although he’s done that before only to cave in.
“This call is the first step for the issue to be solved at a political level,” the government official told Reuters. “We will use all the time (we have at our disposal) to reach an agreement and discussions might continue on Monday morning if required.”