– Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
– Total area: 131,957 km2
– Capital: Athens
– Natural resources: lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt, hydropower potential
– Natural hazards: severe earthquakes and volcanism: Santorini (elev. 367 m) has been deemed a “Decade Volcano” by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; although there have been very few eruptions in recent centuries, Methana and Nisyros in the Aegean are classified as historically active.
– Environment current issues: air pollution; water pollution
– Population: 10,767,827 (July 2012 est.)
– Median age: 42.8 years
– Population growth rate: 0.06%
– Birth rate: 9.08 births/1.000 population
– Death rate: 10.8 deaths/1.000 population
– Urban population: 61% of total population
– Rate of urbanization: 0.6% annual rate of change
– Ethnic groups: Greek 93%, other (foreign citizens) 7% (2001 census)
– Languages: Greek (official) 99%, other (includes English and French) 1%
– Religions: Greek Orthodox (official) 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
– Literacy rate: 96% (male: 97.8%, female: 94.2%).
– Government type: Parliamentary Republic
– Independence: 1830 (from Ottoman Empire)
– Constitution: 11 June 1975
– Suffrage: universal.
Greece has a capitalist economy with a public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP about two-thirds that of the leading euro-zone economies. Tourism provides 15% of GDP. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, mainly in agricultural and unskilled jobs.
Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of annual GDP. The Greek economy grew by nearly 4% per year between 2003 and 2007, due partly to infrastructural spending related to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and in part to an increased availability of credit, which has sustained record levels of consumer spending.
But the economy went into recession in 2009 as a result of the world financial crisis, tightening credit conditions, and Athens’ failure to address a growing budget deficit. The economy contracted by 2.3% in 2009, 3.5% in 2010, and 6.0% in 2011. Greece violated the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criterion of no more than 3% of GDP from 2001 to 2006, but finally met that criterion in 2007-08, before exceeding it again in 2009, with the deficit reaching 15% of GDP.
Austerity measures reduced the deficit to 11% of GDP in 2010 and about 9% in 2011. Eroding public finances, inaccurate and misreported statistics, and consistent underperformance on reforms prompted major credit rating agencies in late 2009 to downgrade Greece’s international debt rating, and has led the country into a financial crisis.
Under intense pressure from the EU and international market participants, the government adopted a medium-term austerity program that includes cutting government spending, decreasing tax evasion, reworking the health-care and pension systems, and reforming the labor and product markets. Athens, however, faces long-term challenges to push through unpopular reforms in the face of widespread unrest from the country’s powerful labor unions and the general public.
In April 2010 a leading credit agency assigned Greek debt its lowest possible credit rating; in May 2010, the International Monetary Fund and Euro zone governments provided Greece emergency short- and medium-term loans worth $147 billion so that the country could make debt repayments to creditors.
In exchange for the largest bailout ever assembled, the government announced combined spending cuts and tax increases totaling $40 billion over three years, on top of the tough austerity measures already taken.
Greece, however, struggled to meet 2010 targets set by the EU and the IMF, especially after Eurostat – the EU’s statistical office – revised upward Greece’s deficit and debt numbers for 2009 and 2010.
European leaders and the IMF agreed in October 2011 to provide Athens a second bailout package of $169 billion.
The second deal however, calls for Greece’s creditors to write down a significant portion of their Greek government bond holdings.
In exchange for the second loan Greece has promised to introduce an additional $7.8 billion in austerity measures during 2013-15.
However, these massive austerity cuts are lengthening Greece’s economic recession and depressing tax revenues.
Greece’s lenders are calling on Athens to step up efforts to increase tax collection, privatize public enterprises, and rein in health spending, and are planning to give Greece more time to shore up its economy and finances. Many investors doubt that Greece can sustain fiscal efforts in the face of a bleak economic outlook, public discontent, and political instability.
– Currency : Euro
– GDP (Gross Domestic Product): $298.1 billion (2011 est.)
– GDP-per capita: $26,600 (2011 est.)
– Real growth rate: -6.9% (2011 est.)
– Unemployment rate: 17.3% (2011 est.)
– Public debt: 161.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
– Inflation rate: 3.3% (2011 est.)
– Central Bank discount rate: 1.75% (31/12/2011)
– Agriculture : wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products
– Industries: tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
– Industrial production growth rate: -8.5%
- Production: 57.11 billion kWh
- Consumption: 58.71 billion kWh
- Exports: 2.571 billion kWh
- Imports: 8.571 billion kWh
– Crude Oil:
- Production: 1,751 bbl/day (2011 est.)
- Exports: 19,960 bbl/day (2009 est.)
- Imports: 355,600 bbl/day (2009 est.)
- Proved reserves: 10 million bbl (2012 est.)
– Refined Petroleum products:
- Production: 440,200 bbl/day (2009 est.)
- Consumption: 343,400 bbl/day (2011 est.)
- Exports: 161,400 bbl/day (2009 est.)
- Imports: 140,800 bbl/day (2009 est.)
– Natural gas:
- Production: 1 million cu m (2010 est.)
- Consumption: 4.737 billion cu m (2011 est.)
- Exports: 4.762 billion cu m (2011 est.)
- Imports: 0 cu m (2011 est.)
- Proved reserves: 991.1 million cu m (2012 est.)
– Current account balance: $-29.32 billion (2011 est.)
– Exports: $28.16 billion
- Commodities: food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
- Main exports partners: Italy (9.6%), Germany (8%), Bulgaria (5.6%), US (5.1%), China (5.1%), Switzerland (4.7%), Belgium (4.7%), (Poland 4.4%).
– Imports: $ 566.04 billion
- Commodities: machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
- Main imports partners: Germany (10.7%), Italy (9.3%), China (7.1%), Netherlands (5.5%), France (5.1%), Austria (4.5%), Russia (4.2%), and Czech Republic (4.1%).
– Reserves of foreign exchange and gold : $6.9 billion
– External debt: $583.3 billion (2011 est.)
– Stock of direct foreign investment :
- At home : $35.45 billion
- Abroad : $41.67 billion
– Airports : 82
– Railways : 2,548 km
– Roadways : 116,711 km
– Ports and terminals : Agioi Theodoroi, Aspropyrgos, Pachi, Piraeus, Thessaloniki