Greece

Introduction Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. In World War II, Greece was first invaded by Italy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Germany (1941-44); fighting endured in a protracted civil war between supporters of the king and Communist rebels. Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship, which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. The 1974 democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. In 1981 Greece joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the euro zone in 2001.
History

The southern shores of Greece's Aegean Sea experienced the emergence some of the first advanced civilizations in Europe. Minoan and Mycenean civilizations, and later Greek city-states, emerged across the Greek peninsula but also on the shores of Black Sea, South Italy and Asia Minor, reaching great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, expressed in architecture, drama, science and philosophy, and nurtured in Athens under a democratic environment. Athens and Sparta led the way in repelling the Persian Empire in a series of battles. Both were later overshadowed by Thebes and eventually Macedonia, with the latter under the guidance of Alexander the Great uniting and leading the Greek world to victory over the Persians, to presage the Hellenistic era, itself brought only partially to a close two centuries later with the establishment of Roman rule over Greek lands in 146 BC.

The subsequent mixture of Roman and Hellenic culture took form in the making of the Byzantine Empire in 330 AD around Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey), and remained a major cultural and military force for the next 1,123 years until its fall at the hands of Ottomans in 1453. On the eve of the Ottoman era the Greek intelligentsia migrated to Western Europe, playing a significant role in the Western European Renaissance through the transferring of works of Ancient Greeks to Western Europe. Nevertheless, the Ottoman millet system contributed to the ethnic cohesion of Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the Ottoman Empire based on religion as the latter played an integral role in the formation of modern Greek identity.

Through the Greek War of Independence, successfully fought against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 to 1829, the nascent Greek state was finally recognized under the London Protocol. In 1827, Ioannis Kapodistrias, a noble Greek from the Ionian Islands, was chosen as the first governor of the new Republic. However, following his assassination, the Great Powers soon installed a monarchy under Otto, of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. In 1843, an uprising forced the King to grant a constitution and a representative assembly. Due to his unimpaired authoritarian rule, he was eventually dethroned in 1863 and replaced by Prince Vilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name George I and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. In 1877, Charilaos Trikoupis, a dominant figure of the Greek political scene who is attributed with the significant improvement of the country's infrastructure, curbed the power of the monarchy to interfere in the assembly by issuing the rule of vote of confidence to any potential prime minister.

As a result of the Balkan Wars, Greece successfully increased the extent of her territory and population, a challenging context both socially and economically. In the following years, the struggle between the new King Constantine I and the charismatic prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos over the country's foreign policy on the eve of World War I dominated the country's political scene, and divided the country into two bitterly hostile factions (see National Schism).

In the aftermath of WW I, Greece fought against Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal,a war which resulted in a massive population exchange between the two countries under the Treaty of Lausanne. Instability and successive coup d'etats marked the following era, which was coloured by the massive task of incorporating 1.5 million Greek refugees from Asia Minor into Greek society.On 28 October 1940 Fascist Italy demanded the surrender of Greece, but the Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas famously responded to the Italian ultimatum with the single word "OXI" ("No"). In the following Greco-Italian War, Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the Allies their first victory over Axis forces on land. The country would eventually fall to urgently dispatched German forces during the Battle of Greece, but the occupiers nevertheless met serious challenges from the Greek Resistance.

After liberation, Greece experienced a civil war between Royalist and Communist forces, which led to economic devastation and severe social tensions between its Rightists and largely Communist Leftists for the next 30 years.[12] The next 20 years were characterized by persecutions of the left in the political and social spheres but also by a significant economic growth, propelled in part by the Marshall Plan. In 1965, a period of political turbulence led to a coup d’etat on April 21, 1967 by the US-supported Regime of the Colonels. On November 1973 the Athens Polytechnic Uprising sent shock waves across the regime, and a counter-coup established Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannides as dictator. On July 20, 1974, as Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus, the regime collapsed.

Ex-Premier Constantine Karamanlis was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since 1963, marking the beginning of the Metapolitefsi era; a 1975 democratic republican constitution was activated and the monarchy abolished by a referendum held that same year. Meanwhile, Andreas Papandreou founded the Panhellenic Socialist Party, or PASOK, in response to Constantine Karamanlis' New Democracy party, with the two groupings dominating Greek political affairs in the ensuing decades. Greece became the tenth member of the European Union on January 1, 1981 and ever since, the nation has experienced a remarkable and sustained economic growth. Widespread investments in industrial enterprises and heavy infrastructure, as well as funds from the European Union and growing revenues from tourism, shipping and a fast growing service sector have raised the country's standard of living to unprecedented levels. The country adopted the Euro in 2001, and successfully organised the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens

Geography Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 22 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 131,940 sq km
land: 130,800 sq km
water: 1,140 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Alabama
Land boundaries: total: 1,228 km
border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, Macedonia 246 km
Coastline: 13,676 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
Terrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m
Natural resources: lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt, hydropower potential
Land use: arable land: 20.45%
permanent crops: 8.59%
other: 70.96% (2005)
Irrigated land: 14,530 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 72 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 8.7 cu km/yr (16%/3%/81%)
per capita: 782 cu m/yr (1997)
Natural hazards: severe earthquakes
Environment - current issues: air pollution; water pollution
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
Geography - note: strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands
Politics

Greece is a parliamentary republic.[13] The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term.[14] After the Constitutional amendment of 1986 the President's duties were curtailed to a significant extent, and they are now largely ceremonial.[15]

The current Constitution of Greece was drawn up and adopted by the Fifth Revisionary Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975 after the fall of the military junta of 1967-1974. It has been revised twice since, in 1986 and in 2001. The Constitution, which consists of 120 articles, provides for a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and grants extensive specific guarantees (further reinforced in 2001) of civil liberties and social rights.[16]

According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government;[17] after 1986, however, the role of the President in the executive branch is ceremonial.[15] The position of Prime Minister, Greece's head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet.[18] The Prime Minister exercises vast political power, and the amendment of 1986 further strengthened his position to the detriment of the President of the Republic.[19]

Legislative power is exercised by a 300-member unicameral Parliament.[20] Statutes passed by the Parliament are promulgated by the President of the Republic.[21] Parliamentary elections are held every four years, but the President of the Republic is obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier on the proposal of the Cabinet, in view of dealing with a national issue of exceptional importance.[22] The President is also obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier, if the opposition manages to pass a motion of no confidence.[23]

The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises three Supreme Courts: the Court of Cassation (Άρειος Πάγος), the Council of State (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) and the Court of Auditors (Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο). The Judiciary system is also composed of civil courts, which judge civil and penal cases and administrative courts, which judge administrative cases, namely disputes between the citizens and the State.

Since the restoration of democracy the party system is dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). Non-negligible parties include the Communist Party of Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left and the Popular Orthodox Rally.

On March 7, 2004, Kostas Karamanlis, president of the New Democracy party and nephew of the late Constantine Karamanlis was elected as the new Prime Minister of Greece, thus marking his party's first electoral victory in nearly eleven years. Karamanlis took over government from Kostas Simitis of PASOK, who had been in office since January 1996. Kostas Karamanlis won a second term on September 16, 2007, however his party acquired a slimmer majority in the Greek Parliament gaining only 152 out of 300 seats.

People Population: 10,706,290 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.3% (male 789,637/female 742,535)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 3,565,237/female 3,570,630)
65 years and over: 19% (male 895,384/female 1,142,867) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 41.2 years
male: 40 years
female: 42.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.163% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 9.62 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 10.33 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 2.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.063 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.998 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.783 male(s)/female
total population: 0.962 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.34 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.38 years
male: 76.85 years
female: 82.06 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.35 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,100 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Greek(s)
adjective: Greek
Ethnic groups: population: Greek 93%, other (foreign citizens) 7% (2001 census)
note: percents represent citizenship, since Greece does not collect data on ethnicity
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Languages: Greek 99% (official), other 1% (includes English and French)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%
male: 97.8%
female: 94.2% (2001 census)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Hellenic Republic
conventional short form: Greece
local long form: Elliniki Dhimokratia
local short form: Ellas or Ellada
former: Kingdom of Greece
Government type: parliamentary republic
Capital: name: Athens
geographic coordinates: 37 59 N, 23 44 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 51 prefectures (nomoi, singular - nomos) and 1 autonomous region*; Achaia, Agion Oros* (Mt. Athos), Aitolia kai Akarnania, Argolis, Arkadia, Arta, Attiki, Chalkidiki, Chanion, Chios, Dodekanisos, Drama, Evros, Evrytania, Evvoia, Florina, Fokidos, Fthiotis, Grevena, Ileia, Imathia, Ioannina, Irakleion, Karditsa, Kastoria, Kavala, Kefallinia, Kerkyra, Kilkis, Korinthia, Kozani, Kyklades, Lakonia, Larisa, Lasithi, Lefkas, Lesvos, Magnisia, Messinia, Pella, Pieria, Preveza, Rethynnis, Rodopi, Samos, Serrai, Thesprotia, Thessaloniki, Trikala, Voiotia, Xanthi, Zakynthos
Independence: 1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday: Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
Constitution: 11 June 1975; amended March 1986 and April 2001
Legal system: based on codified Roman law; judiciary divided into civil, criminal, and administrative courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Karolos PAPOULIAS (since 12 March 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Konstandinos (Kostas) KARAMANLIS (since 7 March 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 8 February 2005 (next to be held by February 2010); according to the Greek Constitution, presidents may only serve two terms; president appoints leader of the party securing plurality of vote in election to become prime minister and form a government
election results: Karolos PAPOULIAS elected president; number of parliamentary votes, 279 out of 300
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Vouli ton Ellinon (300 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: elections last held 16 September 2007 (next to be held by 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - ND 41.8%, PASOK 38.1%, KKE 8.2%, Synaspismos 5%, LAOS 3.8%, other 3.1%; seats by party - ND 152, PASOK 102, KKE 22, Synaspismos 14, LAOS 10
Judicial branch: Supreme Judicial Court; Special Supreme Tribunal; all judges appointed for life by the president after consultation with a judicial council
Political parties and leaders: Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) [Alekos ALAVANOS]; Communist Party of Greece or KKE [Aleka PAPARIGA]; New Democracy or ND (conservative) [Konstandinos KARAMANLIS]; Panhellenic Socialist Movement or PASOK [Yiorgos PAPANDREOU]; Popular Orthodox Rally or LAOS [Yeoryios KARATZAFERIS]
Political pressure groups and leaders: General Confederation of Greek Workers or GSEE [Ioannis PANAGOPOULOS]; Federation of Greek Industries or SEV [Dimitris DASKALOPOULOS]; Civil Servants Confederation or ADEDY [Spyros PAPASPYROS]
International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMEE, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Alexandros P. MALLIAS
chancery: 2221 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-1300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-1324
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Tampa
consulate(s): Atlanta, Houston
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel V. SPECKHARD
embassy: 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue, 10160 Athens
mailing address: PSC 108, APO AE 09842-0108
telephone: [30] (210) 721-2951
FAX: [30] (210) 645-6282
consulate(s) general: Thessaloniki
Flag description: nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white; there is a blue square in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross; the cross symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy, the established religion of the country
Culture

A range of domestically and internationally known composers and performers across the musical spectrum have found success in modern Greece, while traditional Greek music is noted as a mixture of influences from indigenous culture with those of west and east. Turkish and Ottoman elements can be most clearly heard in the traditional songs, dhimotiká, as well as the modern bluesy rembétika music. The best-known Greek musical instrument is the bouzouki. "Bouzouki" is a descriptive Turkish name, but the instrument itself is in fact of Greek rather than Turkish origin. It derives from the ancient Greek lute known as the pandoura, a kind of guitar, clearly visible in ancient statues, especially female figurines of the "Tanagraies" playing cord instruments.

Famous present-day Greek musicians include the central figure of 20th century European modernism Iannis Xenakis, a composer, architect and theorist. Maria Callas, Mikis Theodorakis, Dimitris Mitropoulos, Manos Hadjidakis, and Vangelis also lead twentieth-century Greek contributions, alongside Nikos Skalkottas, Demis Roussos, Nana Mouskouri, Rotting Christ and Anna Vissi.

Cuisine

Greek cuisine is often cited as an example of the healthy Mediterranean diet. The cuisine of Greece has influences from Italian, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisine. Greek cuisine incorporates fresh ingredients into a variety of local dishes such as moussaka, stifado, Greek Salad, spanakopita and the world famous Souvlaki. Throughout Greece people often enjoy eating from small dishes such as meze with various dips such as tzatziki, grilled octopus and small fish, feta cheese, dolmades (rice, currants and pine kernels wrapped in vine leaves), various pulses, olives and cheese. Olive oil is added to almost every dish. Sweet desserts such as galaktoboureko, and drinks such as ouzo, metaxa and a variety of wines including retsina. Greek cuisine difers widely from different parts of the mainland and from island to island.

Sports

The Greek national football team is the reigning UEFA European Champions having won the EURO 2004.[47] They are as of February 2008 ranked 10th in the world,[48] and have recently qualified for Euro 2008 to defend their crown. The Greek Super League is the highest professional football league in the country comprising of 16 teams.The most known football clubs are Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, AEK Athens and PAOK, which compete in the Super League Greece. The men's Greek national basketball team has a decades-long tradition of excellence in the sport. Greece is generally considered an important power in international basketball and the national team is regarded as one of the best in the world. They are as of January 2008 ranked 6th in the world.[49] They have won the European Championship twice (1987 & 2005),[50] and have reached the final four in three of the last four FIBA World Championships (1994, 1998, 2006) taking second place in 2006. The domestic Greek basketball league, A1 Ethniki is composed of fourteen teams. The most successful Greek teams are Panathinaikos, Aris Salonica, Olympiacos, AEK Athens and PAOK.

Cricket, Handball, Water Polo and Volleyball are also practiced in Greece with the first being particularly popular in Corfu due to its long connections with the British.

As the birth place of the Olympic Games, Greece was most recently host of 2004 Summer Olympics and the first modern Olympics in 1896.

Economy Economy - overview: Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP at least 75% 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 4.0% 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. Greece violated the EU's Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criteria of no more than 3% of GDP from 2001 to 2006, but finally met that criteria in 2007. Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average, but are falling. The Greek Government continues to grapple with cutting government spending, reducing the size of the public sector, and reforming the labor and pension systems, in the face of often vocal opposition from the country's powerful labor unions and the general public. The economy remains an important domestic political issue in Greece and, while the ruling New Democracy government has had some success in improving economic growth and reducing the budget deficit, Athens faces long-term challenges in its effort to continue its economic reforms, especially social security reform and privatization.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $326.4 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $356.3 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.7% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $30,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.2%
industry: 20.6%
services: 76.3% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 4.94 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 12%
industry: 20%
services: 68% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate: 8.4% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 26% (2000 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 33 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.6% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 26.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $111.9 billion
expenditures: $120.7 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 81.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: 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: 3.2% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 56.13 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 94.5%
hydro: 3.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.7% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 54.31 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity - exports: 1.836 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 5.616 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 5,687 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 415,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 119,200 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 550,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 7 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 15.35 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 2.724 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 2.707 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 950.5 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$36.4 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $25.76 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Exports - partners: Germany 11.5%, Italy 11.5%, Bulgaria 6.5%, UK 6.1%, Cyprus 5.5%, Turkey 5.2%, France 4.5%, US 4.5%, Spain 4.1% (2006)
Imports: $79.92 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners: Germany 12.6%, Italy 11.5%, Russia 7.1%, France 6%, Netherlands 5.2%, South Korea 4.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $8 billion annually from EU (2000-06); Greece will receive about $3.8 billion per year between 2007-13 under the EU's Community Support Funds IV
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.7 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $371.5 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $41.32 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $19.56 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $145 billion (2005)
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code: EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 6.185 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 11.098 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate, modern networks reach all areas; good mobile telephone and international service
domestic: microwave radio relay trunk system; extensive open-wire connections; submarine cable to offshore islands
international: country code - 30; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Europe, Middle East, and Asia; a number of smaller submarine cables provide connectivity to various parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Cyprus; tropospheric scatter; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 26, FM 88, shortwave 4 (1998)
Radios: 5.02 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 36 (plus 1,341 repeaters); also 2 stations in the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (1995)
Televisions: 2.54 million (1997)
Internet country code: .gr
Internet hosts: 905,824 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 27 (2000)
Internet users: 2.048 million (2006)
Transportation Airports: 81 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 66
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 9 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 12 (2007)
Heliports: 9 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 1,166 km; oil 94 km (2007)
Railways: total: 2,571 km
standard gauge: 1,565 km 1.435-m gauge (764 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 961 km 1.000-m gauge; 22 km 0.750-m gauge
dual gauge: 23 km combined 1.435 m and 1.000-m gauges (three rail system) (2006)
Roadways: total: 114,931 km
paved: 105,507 km (includes 880 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,424 km (2004)
Waterways: 6 km
note: Corinth Canal (6 km) crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; shortens sea voyage by 325 km (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 824 ships (1000 GRT or over) 33,654,384 GRT/57,898,789 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 246, cargo 66, carrier 1, chemical tanker 52, combination ore/oil 1, container 43, liquefied gas 6, passenger 11, passenger/cargo 109, petroleum tanker 269, roll on/roll off 19, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 49 (Belgium 16, Cyprus 5, Italy 1, South Korea 2, UK 15, US 10)
registered in other countries: 2,324 (Antigua and Barbuda 3, Bahamas 214, Barbados 11, Belgium 4, Bermuda 3, Cambodia 5, Cayman Islands 23, China 1, Comoros 8, Cyprus 292, Denmark 4, Dominica 8, Egypt 8, Georgia 7, Gibraltar 8, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 30, Isle of Man 48, Italy 13, Jamaica 8, Lebanon 2, Liberia 311, Maldives 1, Malta 448, Marshall Islands 226, Norway 6, Panama 505, Philippines 3, Portugal 4, Russia 1, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Saudi Arabia 2, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 14, Slovakia 4, St Kitts and Nevis 2, St Vincent and The Grenadines 81, UAE 3, UK 6, Uruguay 1, Venezuela 3, unknown 8) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Agioitheodoroi, Aspropyrgos, Pachi, Piraeus, Thessaloniki
Military Military branches: Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES), Hellenic Navy (Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki Polimiki Aeroporia, EPA) (2007)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee's 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 17 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation - 12 months for the Army, Air Force; 15 months for Navy; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 2,459,988
females age 18-49: 2,442,818 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 2,018,557
females age 18-49: 2,000,650 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 58,399
females age 18-49: 55,571 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 4.3% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: Greece and Turkey continue discussions to resolve their complex maritime, air, territorial, and boundary disputes in the Aegean Sea; Cyprus question with Turkey; Greece rejects the use of the name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia; the mass migration of unemployed Albanians still remains a problem for developed countries, chiefly Greece and Italy
Illicit drugs: a gateway to Europe for traffickers smuggling cannabis and heroin from the Middle East and Southwest Asia to the West and precursor chemicals to the East; some South American cocaine transits or is consumed in Greece; money laundering related to drug trafficking and organized crime