On new years eve the wife decided to tackle an outstanding round of paper-stamping. We had to take on IKA and OAEE and although New Year’s may seem a masochistic day for such a task we headed off with freshly woken kids to the big smoke of Thessaloniki’s public services. We made a quick pit stop at the post office to get the road tax paid which went swiftly and without hitch or hindrance. Next the hardcore, IKA. after about ten minutes. Wifey emerged from the offices with a reserved smile, while she hadn’t managed to complete she was pleasantly surprised by the generally helpful demeanour of the public servants. We proceeded to the police station as I required some stamps to prove that I’m not an illegal alien. After trying two previous addresses of the dept of aliens I enquired if the bloody office was on wheels and received a smile, not common from public employees let alone the police. And here lies my point, is it me or are public employees growing some humanity? *
According to the recent Corruption Perception index compiled by Transparency International Greece is sitting proudly in joint 94th place with Columbia and Moldova. This is promotion from 71st in 2009 when the Crisis began to bite and 80th in 2011. Clearly my hopes for public servants are unfounded. The key word here, though, is perception. These are polls of how people feel about corruption and instead of the the actual corruption increasing could it be simply that tolerance is falling. There was a time, not so long back when it was considered a standard expense but maybe now more feel that they have done enough to oil the cogs of bureaucracy.
A site that I have recently become aware of is edosafakelaki.org, a name and shame site where people can report cases of bribery. Of course, the naming is easy as with the recent ‘Lagarde List’ but the shaming will prove to be a more of a challenge. Many of these people have been circulating in an environment where they could brag about their conquests. The point is that people are beginning to realise that this is not acceptable behaviour and nothing changes society like attitude. People need to learn how to complain more and whinge less and this is a step in the right direction.
…And as for my mission. Well, I manoeuvred OAEE fairly well, despite the fact that they had once again move offices. Then found myself looking up the nose of a Dept of aliens officer who asked me for paper after paper which I duly provided (as in the advert) she then nearly trumped me by demanding a signed affidavit from my wife stating her acceptance of our marriage?#! But I had my wife waiting downstairs in the car. I high-tailed down but by the time we got back they had all left the building. Check mate!