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Flag of Greece   .GR - Greece
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Map of Greece
Greece achieved its 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 royalist supporters of the king and communist rebels. Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece was able to join 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. Greece joined the European Community or EC in 1981 (which became the EU in 1992); it became the 12th member of the euro zone in 2001.
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:
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
13,676 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
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: 21.1%
permanent crops: 8.78%
other: 70.12% (2001)
Irrigated land:
14,220 sq km (1998 est.)
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
10,668,354 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.4% (male 791,227/female 744,178)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 3,561,689/female 3,564,675)
65 years and over: 18.8% (male 884,497/female 1,122,088) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.5 years
male: 39.39 years
female: 41.65 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.19% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
9.72 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
10.15 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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 (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.53 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.08 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.09 years
male: 76.59 years
female: 81.76 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.33 children born/woman (2005 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.)
noun: Greek(s)
adjective: Greek
Ethnic groups:
Greek 98%, other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Greek 99% (official), English, French
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
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; monarchy rejected by referendum 8 December 1974
Administrative divisions:
51 prefectures (nomoi, singular - nomos) and 1 autonomous region*; Agion Oros* (Mt. Athos), Achaia, Aitolia kai Akarmania, 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
1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
11 June 1975; amended March 1986 and April 2001
Legal system:
based on codified Roman law; judiciary divided into civil, criminal, and administrative courts
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; 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:
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, and Tampa
consulate(s): Atlanta, Houston, and New Orleans
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 - overview:
Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP 70% 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 past three years, largely because of an investment boom and infrastructure upgrades for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Economic growth slowed to about 3% in 2005 and, 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 eurozone 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):
$242.8 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$215.9 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.3% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $22,800 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.2%
industry: 22.1%
services: 71.7% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
4.72 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 12%, industry 20%, services 68% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
10.8% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
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):
3.8% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
25.3% of GDP (2005 est.)
revenues: $94.13 billion
expenditures: $103.4 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
108.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products
tourism; food and tobacco processing, textiles; chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate:
1.7% (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:
35 million cu m (2001 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:
254.9 million cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
$-14.5 billion (2005 est.)
$18.54 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - partners:
Germany 13.1%, Italy 10.3%, UK 7.5%, Bulgaria 6.3%, US 5.3%, Cyprus 4.6%, Turkey 4.5%, France 4.2% (2004)
$48.2 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - partners:
Germany 13.3%, Italy 12.8%, France 6.4%, Netherlands 5.5%, Russia 5.5%, US 4.4%, UK 4.2%, South Korea 4.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.3 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$75.1 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:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.79697 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Telephones - main lines in use:
5,205,100 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
8,936,200 (2003)
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)
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)
2.54 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
208,977 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
27 (2000)
Internet users:
1,718,400 (2003)
80 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 67
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: 10 (2005 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 12 (2005 est.)
8 (2005 est.)
gas 1,166 km; oil 94 km (2004)
total: 2,571 km (764 km electrified)
standard gauge: 1,565 km 1.435-m gauge
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) (2004)
total: 116,470 km
paved: 106,920 km (including 880 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,550 km (1999)
6 km
note: Corinth Canal (6 km) crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; shortens sea voyage by 325 km (2004)
Merchant marine:
total: 861 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 30,186,624 GRT/52,943,968 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 296, cargo 65, chemical tanker 47, combination ore/oil 2, container 46, liquefied gas 2, passenger 13, passenger/cargo 121, petroleum tanker 252, roll on/roll off 17
foreign-owned: 25 (Chile 1, China 1, Cyprus 5, Norway 6, Sweden 1, United Kingdom 11)
registered in other countries: 2,208 (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Agioitheodoroi, Aspropyrgos, Irakleion, Pachi, Peiraiefs, Thessaloniki
Military branches:
Hellenic Army, Hellenic Navy, Hellenic Air Force (Polemiki Aeroporia, EPA)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment after reaching 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 and Air Force, 15 months for Navy (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 2,459,988 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 2,018,557 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 58,399 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$5.89 billion (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.3% (2003)
Transnational IssuesGreece
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
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