Certain criteria and restrictions are imposed by European Union directives and obligations arising from the contracts we have signed. That is, they are formalities that cannot be avoided. «Oh, never mind» does not apply in the EU. Ignorance of EU conditions and our obligations is gradually being overcome through repeated briefings. However the problem of bureaucracy exists. It is a beast we are trying to fight with measures that have been taken and are being taken to gradually simplify procedures. For us, bureaucracy is an elephant that is slowly being devoured with patience, persistence and a plan, and effectively so. I believe that we can reduce it. To say that we will wipe it out altogether is to exaggerate. (1) Christos Folias is deputy economy minister.