Debt-eas­ing law ‘against Con­sti­tu­tion’

Kathimerini English - - Focus - IOANNA MANDROU

Greek courts have deemed the reg­u­la­tions of the so-called Kat­seli Law “un­con­sti­tu­tional.” The 2010 law con­cerns money owed by overindebted house­holds to the tax au­thor­i­ties, the so­cial se­cu­rity funds and the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, and in some cases al­lows for the write-off of cer­tain debts.

The courts re­spon­si­ble for thou­sands of ap­pli­ca­tions from cit­i­zens seek­ing pro­tec­tion in the law’s pro­vi­sions have de­cided in a mul­ti­tude of cases that the reg­u­la­tions are “clearly un­con­sti­tu­tional” and “ar­bi­trary.” These crum­bling reg­u­la­tions are in­cluded in the 2015 amend­ment to the 2010 law in­for­mally named af­ter for­mer econ­omy min­is­ter Louka Kat­seli. That leg­is­la­tion gave thou­sands of bor­row­ers with ar­rears to banks the op­por­tu­nity to re­struc­ture their debts to so­cial se­cu­rity funds and tax or lo­cal au­thor­i­ties or even have them writ­ten off.

Greek jus­tices warn that if the law is ap­plied in full, at least re­gard­ing so­cial se­cu­rity funds, it will be the last straw for the al­ready creak­ing pen­sion sys­tem. Courts have also crit­i­cized the reg­u­la­tions in re­la­tion to the prin­ci­ple of the equal­ity of cit­i­zens, not­ing that the law is con­sti­tu­tion­ally un­ac­cept­able be­cause it shifts the bur­den to cit­i­zens who con­tinue to pay their taxes and con­tri­bu­tions.

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