Greek Bureaucratic Insanity: 18 Certificates Required to Get a Corral License

    Contrary to the self-serving north European myth about Greeks fecklessly wallowing in comfort at the expense of foreign banks and EU loans, many Greeks have always had more than one job, work hard, and are not employees of the state. And now, amidst the crisis, more and more Greeks are going back to farms they abandoned years ago so they can grow potatoes, cabbages and vegetables to help them survive the crisis.

    A young unemployed man from Athens decided to follow this same path; in the face of the crisis he decided to leave the city, and go back to his parents’ village to become a cattle breeder. But he soon found his plans stalled due to the Greek Byzantine-style bureaucracy. In order for him to get his own little corral to put his cows, he was asked to hand in about 18 certificates! In the end, the young man got frustrated and decided to immigrate instead of becoming a cattle breeder. The certificates the man was asked to hand in are the following:

    1. Certificate from the Directorate General of Forestry confirming the land can be used, among others, for purposes provided by the respective special laws.

    2. Relevant Decision of the Prefect on lifting restrictions of Law 216/73.

    3. Local Compartment Opinion on above mentioned granting.

    4. Certificate from the President of the Local Compartment confirming one is legally practicing the profession of cattle breeding.

    5. Certificate from the Topographical Directorate about ownership status.

    6. Tax returns for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 confirming the practice of the profession of cattle breeding.

    7. Registry for cattle breeding exploitation.

    8. Directorate of Agricultural Economy and Veterinary Medicineʼs Opinion

    9. Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquitiesʼ Opinion

    10. Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquitiesʼ Opinion

    11. Ephorate of Contemporary and Modern Monumentsʼ Opinion

    12. Directorate of Health, Public Hygiene and Social Servicesʼ Opinion

    13. Minute of Evaluating Committee of the Municipality determining the value of land allotment.

    14. Certificate from the Mayor confirming the given land allotment has not been repeated before.

    15. Designation of land use by (former) TYDK officials.

    16. Urban Planning Opinion.

    17. Cash Receipt from the Municipality confirming the land allotment has been paid for as designated by the Municipalityʼs Evaluating Committee.

    18. Relevant Decision of the Municipalityʼs Committee on Life Quality.

    This is the same country where the exchange of multimillions worth of real estate between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery prior Efraim only took a day or two, and just a couple of signatures from the “right” people.  It is the same country that urges its citizens to go back to villages and start producing goods to help Greece escape the crisis! And while the Greek government keeps mumbling about how Greece could reap significant savings by reducing its bureaucracy, which employs one out of five workers in the country, the Greek state makes it virtually impossible for someone to even get a  licence for a corral, let alone open up a business.


    1. Greece is a disgrace.  The “system” hasn’t changed one bit….yet they all complain that the economy keeps getting worse.  It is 50 years behind the average EU economy and even in terms of regulation and bureaucracy (not to mention corruption), it’s at least a decade behind Eastern European countries.  

      I know about this first hand.  I can write a book about my experiences in Third World Greece doing business.


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