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Map of Greece
Introduction Greece
Background:
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.
Geography Greece
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)
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
People Greece
Population:
10,688,058 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.3% (male 790,291/female 742,902)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 3,562,251/female 3,566,097)
65 years and over: 19% (male 891,620/female 1,134,897) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.8 years
male: 39.7 years
female: 42 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.18% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
9.68 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
10.24 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.43 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.24 years
male: 76.72 years
female: 81.91 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.34 children born/woman (2006 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:
Greek 98%, other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece
Religions:
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Languages:
Greek 99% (official), English, French
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.5%
male: 98.6%
female: 96.5% (2003 est.)
People - note:
women, men, and children are trafficked to and within Greece for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor
Government Greece
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 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 parlimentary 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 7 March 2004 (next to be held by March 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - ND 45.4%, PASOK 40.6%, KKE 5.9%, Synaspismos 3.3%; seats by party - ND 165, PASOK 117, KKE 12, Synaspismos 6
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 [Khristos POLYZOGOPOULOS]; Federation of Greek Industries or SEV [Odysseas KYRIAKOPOULOS]; Civil Servants Confederation or ADEDY [Spyros PAPASPYROS]
International organization participation:
Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, G- 6, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (associate member), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SECI, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UPU, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Alexandros 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 Charles P. RIES
embassy: 91 Vasilissis 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
Economy Greece
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 menial jobs. Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of annual GDP. The Greek economy grew by about 4.0% for the between 2003 and 2005, largely because of an investment boom and infrastructure upgrades for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Economic growth slowed to about 3% in 2005. Greece has not met the EU's Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criteria of 3% of GDP since 2000. Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average. To overcome these challenges, the Greek Government is expected to continue cutting government spending, reducing the size of the public sector, and reforming the labor and pension systems.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$236.8 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$209.7 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$22,200 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.4%
industry: 21.3%
services: 73.3% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
4.72 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 20%
services: 68% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
9.9% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 28.3% (1998 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
35.1 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.5% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
24.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $94.13 billion
expenditures: $103.4 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
106.8% of GDP (2005 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:
-0.3% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
54.56 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 94.5%
hydro: 3.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.7% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
53.5 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity - exports:
2.1 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
4.2 billion kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
5,805 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
435,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
84,720 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
468,300 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
4.5 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
27 million cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
2.34 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
2.018 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
991.1 million cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
-$17.86 billion (2005 est.)
Exports:
$18.54 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Exports - partners:
Germany 12.4%, Italy 10.4%, UK 6.7%, Bulgaria 5.9%, US 5.3%, Cyprus 5.2%, Turkey 5.1%, France 4.2% (2005)
Imports:
$48.2 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Germany 12.7%, Italy 12.4%, Russia 7.8%, France 5.7%, Netherlands 5.5%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.287 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$75.18 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$8 billion from EU (2000-06)
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 - 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Greece
Telephones - main lines in use:
6,348,800 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
9,305,700 (2004)
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; tropospheric scatter; 8 submarine cables; 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 low-power repeaters); also two stations in the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (1995)
Televisions:
2.54 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.gr
Internet hosts:
414,724 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
27 (2000)
Internet users:
3.8 million (2005)
Transportation Greece
Airports:
82 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 66
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 9 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 13 (2006)
Heliports:
8 (2006)
Pipelines:
gas 1,166 km; oil 94 km (2004)
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) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 116,470 km
paved: 106,920 km (including 880 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,550 km (1999)
Waterways:
6 km
note: Corinth Canal (6 km) crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; shortens sea voyage by 325 km (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 813 ships (1000 GRT or over) 30,656,860 GRT/52,298,434 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 272, cargo 61, chemical tanker 42, combination ore/oil 1, container 44, liquefied gas 4, passenger 12, passenger/cargo 120, petroleum tanker 239, roll on/roll off 17, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 21 (Belgium 11, Chile 1, Sweden 1, UK 8)
registered in other countries: 2,338 (The Bahamas 217, Barbados 11, Belgium 4, Bermuda 1, Cambodia 7, Cayman Islands 22, Comoros 8, Cyprus 352, Denmark 1, Dominica 3, Egypt 6, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 2, Georgia 5, Gibraltar 9, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 28, India 1, Isle of Man 43, Italy 6, Jamaica 5, North Korea 1, Lebanon 2, Liberia 229, Malta 515, Marshall Islands 179, Panama 536, Philippines 7, Portugal 4, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 84, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Singapore 8, Slovakia 5, Syria 1, UAE 2, UK 7, US 3, Uruguay 1, Vanuatu 1, Venezuela 2, unknown 15) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Agioitheodoroi, Aspropyrgos, Irakleion, Pachi, Peiraiefs, Thessaloniki
Military Greece
Military branches:
Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES), Hellenic Navy (Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Ellinikos Polemiki Aeroporia, EPA) (2006)
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 military service (2005)
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 - dollar figure:
$5.89 billion (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.3% (2003)
Transnational Issues Greece
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
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

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006