The situation at the new land registry offices in the inner Athens suburb of Galatsi in recent days is an absolute shame. It is a shambles and once again demonstrates that the Greek state has no respect whatsoever for its citizens and zero interest in dealing with their problems.
The average wait time for submitting the required documents is more than two hours – which is an insult to everyone involved.
There are those who have to take time off work so they can visit the various private land registry offices across the country (known in Greek as “ypothikofylakeia”) in order to collect the required documents before heading to the Galatsi offices and lining up in order to register their assets. Their failure to do so could result in a fine or even the loss of that property.
Even more striking is the fact that submission of these documents (with the exception of cases of adverse possession) could be carried out online, if only the government had ordered the various tax offices to work together or make TAXISnet, the online platform for income tax declarations, collaborate with the Greek Land Registry.
After all, citizens’ assets are recorded on the hard disks of the Finance Ministry, because we have all filled in the E9 tax forms which contain all taxpayers’ property details (including the contract number for every asset) on the basis of which the Greek state collects 3 billion euros every year in what is known as the ENFIA property tax.
Meanwhile, Estonia, a country with a population of just 1.3 million, has since 2005 developed into a digital democracy.
Its people vote via the internet while citizens’ data regarding their studies, their work, tax issues, assets and even pets are classified in digital form.
Citizens can use a code to access their private file, while the different agencies, such as the traffic police or dentists, can access the information that is relevant to them.
Greece, on the other hand, a member of the European Union since 1981, has been unable to digitize the information stored at the various ypothikofylakeia, and the first floor of the tax office does not “communicate” with the third floor.
And even when the different agencies are indeed able to communicate with each other, we still prefer to stand in the queue and to pay the relevant fee or kickback to speed up administrative procedures.