I had an interesting conversation this week with a friend in Germany who is trying to get back into Denmark.
The rules changed a couple of weeks ago to allow married couples to reunite across the Danish border, despite broader coronavirus restrictions. This week it was extended to unmarried couples.
The question then is how do you prove that your boyfriend is back across the border?
Some squirm at the notion of “defining” their “relationship” but bureaucrats need an answer.
My friend said that she called ahead and was told to produce a letter from her boyfriend saying that she was due to come and stay with him.
“A letter? This ain’t the 1950s”, she politely rephrased in reply.
With some consultation the border control apparently agreed to accept a formally written email invitation and photo evidence of them being a couple (holiday snaps would suffice, he said).
She hopes to make the crossing tonight, and so hopefully it’ll work.
Conforming to the system
It’s always interesting when things one would ordinarily not think twice about suddenly have to neatly fit into a box that someone needs to tick.
Last year my girlfriend and I moved to Denmark earlier than planned so I could “get in” before Brexit. In terms of me, as a person, I didn’t feel I would particularly change whether the UK chose to remain or leave, but in order to play by the rules I needed to register my residence whilst I was a technically still an EU citizen.
As such, we altered our plans and moved to Copenhagen early. We’re very happy with the choice, but in this instance “the system” won.
The system conforms?
In other ways, “the system” has flexibility.
A protocol that requires loved ones to produce a physical letter from their lover to cross a border doesn’t feel in place in a world with ̶S̶k̶y̶p̶e̶ Zoom, email and Snapchat.
The Danish border control clearly have some leeway in allowing people to cross, but the default is still to produce a letter. I guess the systems/ classifications will evolve over time, though I do wonder what gives the impetus for change. In many organisations, change = more work, so the incentives to innovate (for the workshy) aren’t always aligned.
Maybe there are some forward-thinking megalithic organisations that are proactive in updating their systems. If so, I wonder how…
If anyone knows about a “bureaucracy innovation consultant”, let me know…
In other news…
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