The Parliamentary Committee on Commerce is looking for ways to cover small businesses, along with natural persons, from the abusive clauses of the banks, which today continued the discussion of the multi-bill concerning consumer protection. There are two options before the Government and the Parliament, as the MPs pointed out: the inclusion in a way that the Law is not rejected by the President, the legal entities in the bill, or the submission of a second bill that deals exclusively with the protection of small business.
In statements after the Commission, the President of Andreas Kyprianou said that the discussion of the multi-bill regarding consumer protection focused today on the scope of application of the legislation.
Last warning from the Commission of abusive clauses
The multi-bill as it has been submitted protects natural persons from abusive clauses, but not the legal ones, said Mr. Kyprianou, adding that the Commission from the beginning intended to extend the bill so that it can be applied to very small companies. In Cyprus, he noted, micro-enterprises are predominantly family-run or may be victims like a natural person.
Mr. Kyprianou explained, however, that there is a problem in the inclusion in the legislation of clauses that protect even very small companies because this would overturn the whole philosophy of the bill and it would need to be re-led for legal processing and there would be a delay.
He said that the political parties have expressed their decision to proceed with amendments during the vote, which will most likely lead to a reversal of the bill with the result that there is no legislation that protects even natural persons.
The President of the Commission said that there are two ways that can be followed. One is the consultation of the Minister of Energy and Trade with the Minister of Finance and the support of the Financial Commissioner so that an agreed bill has been submitted as soon as possible that has been processed by the Legal Service in the form of urgency and the two legislation to be submitted to the Plenary for a vote.
The second way, he added, is to make a serious commitment to submit this second bill that will safeguard micro-enterprises. However, as he said, he is not sure if this will satisfy the political parties and they will not proceed with the submission of amendments that will probably lead to the legislation not proceeding even for the natural persons.
He stressed that it is very important to extend the legislation to cover very small businesses and therefore it should be done in the right way so that there are no upheavals.
AKEL MP Costas Costa in his own statements said that it is unfair and unequal if a contract was made in the name of a very small company and not in the name of a natural person, not to be covered by law. As he said, this is happening in Greece, France, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and other countries which have included in their laws and legal entities.
Mr. Costa said that if the Government declares that if the Parliament votes to extend the definition of the consumer, then the President will probably report the law to the Supreme Court, “then let the Ministries of Commerce and Finance cooperate with the Legal Service and the Finance “Commissioner to prepare a bill that will expand the scope of the law and this bill to be sent directly to Parliament to be voted on the bill for individuals,” he said.
The AKEL MP said that when the Government had to pass bills for the protection of the Banks, the legal inspection was completed in one night, now that it has to protect the citizens, it must stop finding excuses.
EDEK MP Elias Myrianthous said that small businesses should be included in the bill, while for individuals the bill has been submitted to the Legal Service for three years and everything should have already been clarified. However, as he mentioned, he remains without regulating the issue while we are at five o'clock since the multi-bill must be voted by April 20 so that there will be no sanctions from the EU.
Mr. Myrianthous said that EDEK is not committed to vote like the polynomial bill unless this issue of what is a consumer is regulated in a way that includes small businesses and will submit an amendment. If it, he continued, is judged by the Government or by the Legal Service to be unconstitutional and returned by the President of the Republic, then they will have to come to Parliament with a proposal and suggest improvements so that it can be voted on by April 20th.
“Otherwise, let the Government take responsibility, both for the return of the relevant bill that will not cover small businesses and for the fine that will be accepted by the Republic of Cyprus itself,” he said. Otherwise, he called on the Government to prepare a proposal based on the suggestions and the Financial Commissioner, even with a separate bill, so that it can be voted on separately. “We can not pass a bill for consumer protection that will not cover the small company, the small business,” he concluded.
Solidarity MP Michalis Giorgallas said that the protection of individuals and small businesses from unfair practices and abusive banking clauses is a requirement. “We urge the finance and commerce ministers to find a way to protect small businesses from the teeth of bankers,” he said, noting the two options, extending the bill to include small businesses and tabling a special bill that would concerns small businesses only.
Mr. Giorgallas said that there is no time to lose and called on the Minister of Finance to support the effort of the Financial Commissioner to submit a special bill for small businesses as soon as possible. Concluding, he asked the Speaker of the Parliament to exercise his discreet intervention towards the two Ministers and the Legal Service in order to find a way to pass legislation as soon as possible that would protect small businesses.
The MP of the Movement for Ecological Cooperation, Citizens George Perdikis, said that another effort must be made, especially now that it seems that the Government also expresses the political will to include small businesses in the protection of consumers against abusive clauses.
What they are also discussing with EDEK MP Ilias Myrianthous is the submission of an amendment regarding the abusive clauses of banks and special purpose companies that handle loans. That is, to focus, as he explained, the implementation of legislation on issues related to the banking sector in terms of consumer protection as small businesses. At the same time, he appealed to the Speaker of Parliament to intervene with the Executive Power for a speedy resolution of this issue in order to resolve any constitutional obstacles, saying that there is no need to reach a plenary session in which extortionate dilemmas will be raised.
Philenews / ΚΥΠΕ