The Greek government will protect the primary residences of low-income families from being auctioned off, government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Thursday.
The statement came after the meeting of the SYRIZA political council, chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The main issue discussed was the beginning of online foreclosure auctions on Wednesday, and the violent reactions by activist groups at the Justice of the Peace court in Athens, that resulted in severe clashes with police.
Several SYRIZA members asked for more specific legislative measures that would protect the homes of poorer Greeks. Others criticized the extent of the force police used to stop protesters from entering the court.
“It is an absolute commitment of the Greek government that under no circumstances will the primary residences of working-class families be forcefully auctioned off,” Tzanakopoulos said.
“Since there is enormous misinformation in the last few days with regard to this issue, it must be remembered that the Greek government has pledged to protect the primary residence with an extremely strict legal framework,” he added.
The government’s line is that the majority of the houses that are auctioned off are luxury homes that belong to strategic non-payers who can afford to pay their mortgages but refrain from doing so, using the economic crisis as an excuse.
Speaking on the issue, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said the online auctions are important to keep the banking system healthy.
“The electronic auctions are important, not just to have good banks, but also for developmental and social reasons. That is, if banks cannot lend to small and medium-sized businesses, we have a problem. If banks cannot give money and new loans to new couples, we have a social problem,” he said.