One can often find elements of the theatre of the absurd in the Greek bureaucracy, and sometimes they deserve a Guinness record.

Such is the case of Gavdos (photo).

As Ta Nea reports today, the small island has the longest-lasting property registration on the entire planet.

For a quarter century after registration of properties was launched, Gavdos’ few residents are at long last getting a cadastre.

The causes and responsibilities for the delay are comico-tragical, and they concern seven prime ministers and 12 ministers.

The area of the island is less than 34 square kilometres, but it is of great geopolitical significance, as it is critical in the delimitation of Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone, a factor that should have expedited the process.

Fortunately, the issue is coming to a conclusion, but it reminds us that we have a long way to go in the effort to remedy the dysfunctions of the Greek state.

It also demonstrates that a decision alone does not solve a problem, as the registration of properties on the island came up against the obstacle of many property disputes – both between owners and between owners and the state – and of incomplete registrations.

Given this story, we must continue to insist that despite all that the state is obliged to be citizen-friendly.

This is not about some invisible authority apportioning blame in a punitive manner. It is the organised and legal tool that ensures smooth relations between citizens, the legal framework, and interests, and at the same time helps shape a social contract.

All this is happening in the middle of a digital revolution and the very swift management of issues due to the positive policies of the current government.

Let us not backpedal. Let us stride forward.

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