Recently I had a minor experience of how the bureaucracy functions. In February I bought some new spectacles. Under EOPYY, previously IKA, I am allowed to claim €100 of the cost back. The person in the shop who sold them to me filled out all the paperwork so all I had to do was take it to the EOPYY building on the Souda road, which I did on 22 February. The man in Section B said that he couldn't accept the forms because my bank account details were not showing on his computer system. I had my bank book with me so asked if he could enter it on the system. No, I had to register it at Section A.
I went to Section A, took a ticket and waited a couple of hours in the queue. When my turn eventually came the lady dealt with it in a matter of seconds and assured me that my bank account was now registered on the system. I returned to Section B but the man said that it still wasn't showing on his system and would probably take a few hours. Not being prepared to wait any longer I went home and returned the next day. Sure enough the next day everything was OK, he accepted the forms printed out another multi-part form and gave me one of the copies as a receipt to prove I had submitted a claim. That form has a protocol number in case I need to chase it.
Last Thursday I received a phone call from a different section of EOPYY in an office on Bouniali Street, near the Piraeus bank on Tzanakaki Street. They needed my bank details. I explained that they already had them but they said they didn't. Today I went into the office on Bouniali Street and discovered that they don't seem to be using a computer system at all. The lady there pulled out a ring binder full of paperwork including the form with the protocol number that they had given me at the Souda Road office, now covered in official looking stamps. As far as I can tell it is the paperwork that is passed round within the EOPYY system, gathering approvals along the way, and the computer system is not used at all. When I left the office I looked more closely at the form and discovered that at the bottom is a section headed "ΣΤΟΙΧΕΙΑ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥΧΟΥ" which translates as BENEFICIARY DETAILS. Underneath it has lines headed "IBAN", "ΕΠΩΝΥΜΟ" and "ΟΝΟΜΑ" all of which were blank. Clearly, for some reason, although the computer system at Souda Road has these details it doesn't include them on the form and so the offices where the form is ultimately processed does not have them.
While this is a trivial example compared to what businesses face it does illustrate how dysfunctional the Greek bureaucracy is and also, to an extent, why. I suppose there is a slim possibility that one day they will be dragged kicking and screaming out of the Byzantine era and into the era of the Ottoman Empire. I see no possibility at all of them reaching the 21st century in my lifetime or that of my grandson.