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Knowing Your EU Rights in Greece

Greece has been a member of the European Union for several years now however, this has not stopped problems occuring with certain aspects of foreigners living in Greece. Difficulties have occurred with things such as recognition of professional qualifications, obtaining driving licences and residency permits. We investigate what recourse EU citizens have when experiencing problems due to misapplication of EU law in Greece. It is important to know what laws and rules


that apply to you and what to do if you have a problem.

The first step is to contact Solvit who deal with cross-border problems between a business or a citizen on the one hand and a national public authority on the other, where there is possible misapplication of EU law. Solvit is an informal approach to problem solving, therefore it should not be used in situations where legal proceedings are already underway. Here is a list (by no means exhaustive) of some of the policy areas Solvit has dealt with so far :

* Recognition of professional qualifications and diplomas
* Access to education
* Residency permits
* Voting rights
* Social security
* Employment rights
* Driving licences
* Motor vehicle registration

Solvit works on-line with all the EU member states to solve problems without actioning legal proceedings. The centres in every EU state are part of the national administration and are committed to providing real solutions to problems within ten weeks. Their services are free of charge.

Whilst in general, EU law is applied well in all the EU member countries, mistakes are sometimes made. For example, you may have problems with obtaining a residency permit, getting your qualifications recognised or registering a car. If you have a business, your company could be faced with administrative obstacles, unjustified refusal of access to a national market or problems getting VAT reimbursed.

If you are unsure of your rights, then the first port of call is to check using the "Your Europe" portal on the Europa website to get clarification. If you are sure of your rights and have tried in vain to exercise them, then Solvit is there to help you.

When you submit a case to Solvit, your local Solvit Centre will first check the details of your application to make sure that it does indeed concern the misapplication of Internal Market rules and that all the necessary information has been made available. It will then enter your case into an on-line database, and it will be forwarded automatically to the Solvit Centre in the other member state where the problem has occurred.

Solvit should confirm within a week whether or not it will take on your case. This will largely depend on whether it considers that the case is well-founded and whether there is a good chance that it can be resolved pragmatically.

The target deadline for finding a solution to the problem is 10 weeks.

Solvit is really an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. It works much more quickly than making a formal complaint or endeavouring to go through the legal system.

Solvit's record on resolving problems successfully is 78%

Remember, they are not an information or legal advice network, they only deal with problems which are due to bad application of EU law by public authorities in any EU member state.

You can submit your complaint online or by post, email and fax. The Solvit web site can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/solvit/site/index_en.htm

If you are not sure of whether your complaint is suitable or just want more information for finding out about your rights within the EU, there is a great links page on the site too.