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Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. 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 other anti-Communists and Communist rebels. Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. In 1967, a group of military officers seized power, establishing a military dictatorship that suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country. In 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. In 2010, the prospect of a Greek default on its euro-denominated debt created severe strains within the EMU and raised the question of whether a member country might voluntarily leave the common currency or be removed.


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Economy - overview
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 Eurozone 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.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 44
$298.1 billion (2011 est.)
$320.1 billion (2010 est.)
$331.7 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$303.1 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 214
-6.9% (2011 est.)
-3.5% (2010 est.)
-3.3% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 52
$26,600 (2011 est.)
$28,600 (2010 est.)
$29,700 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 3.3%
Industry 17.9%
Services 78.9% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 77
4.959 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 12.4%
Industry 22.4%
Services 65.1% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 156
17.3% (2011 est.)
12.5% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line
20% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 2.5%
Highest 10% 26% (2000 est.)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 99
33 (2005)
35.4 (1998)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 136
14.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $129.5 billion
Expenditures $158.6 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 38
42.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 194
-9.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 4
161.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
144.9% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 70
3.3% (2011 est.)
4.7% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 120
1.75% (31 December 2011)
1.75% (31 December 2010)
This is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 142
7% (31 December 2011 est.)
5.984% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 27
$126.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$151.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
See entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 36
$269.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$316.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 28
$425 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$442.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 48
$33.65 billion (31 December 2011)
$72.64 billion (31 December 2010)
$54.72 billion (31 December 2009)

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 World Ranking: 164
-8.5% (2011 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 46
51.5 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 40
59.53 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
3.233 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
4.368 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 92
7,946 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 35
371,300 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 56
181,600 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 24
496,600 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 90
10 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 91
1 million cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 64
3.824 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 105
0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 35
3.815 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 100
991.1 million cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 181
-$29.32 billion (2011 est.)
-$30.48 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 66
$28.16 billion (2011 est.)
$22.66 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles

Exports - partners
Italy 9.6%, Germany 8%, UK 6.5%, Italy 6.2%, Bulgaria 5.6%, US 5.1%, China 5.1%, Switzerland 4.7%, Belgium 4.7%, Poland 4.4% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 49
$66.04 billion (2011 est.)
$60.19 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners
Germany 10.7%, Italy 9.3%, China 7.1%, China 5.7%, Netherlands 5.5%, France 5.1%, Austria 4.5%, Russia 4.2%, Czech Republic 4.1% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 82
$6.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$6.37 billion

Debt - external World Ranking: 22
$583.3 billion (30 June 2011)
$532.9 billion (30 June 2010)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 59
$35.45 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$35.03 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad World Ranking: 36
$41.67 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$42.62 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.7194 (2011 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)
0.7345 (2007 est.)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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Syra Kyklades

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Zakhloritika Greece (general)

Ayios Theodhoroi Greece (general)

Khalkidhiki Central Macedonia

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