Greece

 

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 neighbouring 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 European Economic and Monetary Union in 2001.

 

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
People:
Population: 10,767,827 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.2% (male 787,143/female 741,356)

15-64 years: 66.2% (male 3,555,447/female 3,567,383)

65 years and over: 19.6% (male 923,177/female 1,185,630) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Hellenic Republic

conventional short form: Greece

local long form: EllinikiDhimokratia

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

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 5.203 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 12.293 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 82 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 67

over 3,047 m: 6

2,438 to 3,047 m: 15

1,524 to 2,437 m: 19

914 to 1,523 m: 18

under 914 m: 9 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Hellenic Army (EllinikosStratos, ES), Hellenic Navy (EllinikosPolemikoNavtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (EllinikiPolimikiAeroporia, EPA) (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 19-45 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 yea

 

Economy: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.
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