Form of Government: Republic
Area: 132 049 sq km
Population: 10 716 322 inhab. (estimate 2019)
Density: 81.15 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 42° - 35° N; long. 19° - 30° E
Capital: Athens=Athína (capital) 664 046 inhab. (2011); Greater Athens 3 168 000 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.888 (rank: 32)
President: Katerina Sakellaropoulou (independent), elected 22 January 2020, in office since 15 March 2020
Prime Minister: Kyriakos Mītsotakīs (ND), since 8 July 2019
Parliament: seats based on the elections of 7 July 2019: ND (New Democracy, centre-right), 158; SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), 86; KINAL (Movement for Change, centre-left), 22; KKE (Communist Party), 15; Greek Solution (nationalist), 10; MeRA25 (left-wing), 9
Internet: www.statistics.gr (Hellenic Statistical Authority)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code GR
International dialling code 0030
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 220/230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .gr
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Athens 18.1; Irákleio (Creta) 18.5; Rhodes 18.6; Salonika 16.1
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Athens 9.5/28; Irákleio (Creta) 12.5/25; Rhodes 11/26.5; Salonika 5.5/26.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Athens 11/4; Irákleio (Creta) 11/4; Rhodes 11/4; Salonika 10/4
Annual average precipitation (mm) Athens 398; Irákleio (Creta) 456; Rhodes 777; Salonika 470
Days of rainfall (annual average) Athens 58; Irákleio (Creta) 54; Rhodes 64; Salonika 65
Politics and current affairs
Greece faced three waves of COVID-19 between the end of 2020 and summer 2021. The third wave was caused by the spread of the Delta variant. During spring 2021, the vaccination campaign prioritized islanders in order to create “COVID-free zones” in tourist areas. Following strained relations with Turkey, the country decided to make significant increases in the defence budget. Pressure was reduced in refugee camps (fewer than 10 000 persons) for the first time since 2015. On 7 October 2020, the Court of Appeal of Athens sentenced the leaders of the far right party, Golden Dawn, to 13 years imprisonment. According to the court, the party had acted like a “criminal organization”.
In August, during a record heat wave, devastating fires struck several areas and islands, causing immeasurable damage and resulting in the evacuation of thousands of people, including residents and tourists.
Greece’s mainland occupies the southern region of the Balkan Peninsula and borders to the north-west with Albania, to the north with the Republic of North Macedonia and Bulgaria and to the north-east with Turkey. Three seas surround the country: the Aegean to the east, the Mediterranean to the south, and the Ionian to the west. It is predominantly mountainous and with very irregular coastlines: the Peloponnese peninsula lies to the south of the country and the Chalkidiki peninsula lies to the north-east. The rivers on the eastern side are shallow and torrent-like: the longest is the Aliákmonas while those on the western side (the Árachthos and the Achelous) are deeper. The climate is Mediterranean.
There are numerous islands, together accounting for approximately a fifth of the country’s total area: the Ionian Islands in the Ionian Sea; Euboea, the Cyclades, the northern Sporades and the southern Sporades in the Aegean Sea; Crete, to the south of the Peloponnese; the Dodecanese and Rhodes, to the west and to the south of the Anatolian coast.
Following the occupation by Italian and German troops in 1940-41 (for which Germany was asked to negotiate possible war reparations in 2019), after liberation in 1944, Greece was the stage for a long civil war that ended in 1949 with the defeat of communist forces. The country assumed its current borders in 1947, with the annexation of the Dodecanese. On 21 April 1967, the military took power and set up the “Regime of the Colonels” that lasted until 1974. The failure of the coup d’état on the island of Cyprus, inspired by the Greek dictatorship, also brought down the regime in Athens and 1974, in a referendum, the Republic was set up. Tensions with Turkey over the matter of Cyprus continue, particularly with regards to the use of offshore gas fields. According to the 1975 Constitution, the Government is responsible before Parliament (300 members elected by direct suffrage for four years); the President of the Republic, who has powers that are, for the most part, representative, is elected by Parliament for five years.
Defence and justice.
Following strained relations with Turkey, at the end of 2020, the country decided to increase military spending by 57%. The resources will be used to purchase 18 Rafale fighter planes from France and increase the size of the army by 15 000 units. The judicial system is based on European continental civil law.
|Greater Athens||3 168 000||inhab.||2011|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
|Foreigners, total||906 345||units||2020|
The Greek economy fell by 8.2% in 2020. Growth prospects are low for 2021 (+3.8%), with an unemployment rate that remains high (16.6%). According to European Commission estimates, growth is expected to return due to the measures implemented by the government and the funds guaranteed by the Recovery and Resilience Plan.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||92.68||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||74.43||index||2019|
|Active population||4 630 500||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||44.2||%||2020|
|Unemployment rate, Females||53.6||%||2020|
|Expenses||77 231||M LCU||2020|
|Revenues||60 425||M LCU||2020|
|Currency in circulation||33.452||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||11 931.18||M US$||2020|
Agriculture & forests.
Agricultural contribution to national production is higher than the European average. The most important crops are vines, olives, cotton, tobacco, cereals and sugar beet. The main wine-producing areas are the Peloponnese coastal areas (along with the islands) and the hill areas of Thessaloníki. Both grapes and dried grapes are more important than wine production (Corinthian raisins, currants from western Morea and the Ionian Islands, sultanas from Crete and Samos, rosaki grapes); special wines are destined for export (the more famous being those from Lefkada, Kymi and Nemea) as well as that are more liqueur-like (from Samos, Santorini, Cephalonia, Naxos and Corfu). Olives are widespread throughout the country; cotton is grown in Attica and Boeotia; tobacco in Macedonia, Aetolia and Thrace; sugar beet in Thessaly, the western Peloponnese and Macedonia. Figs and citrus fruit crops are also widespread.
Livestock & fishing.
Livestock farming does not satisfy the country’s needs; beekeeping is important, as well as fishing (the dispute with Italy for the exploitation of fish resources in the Ionian Sea was resolved in 2020) and sponge harvesting.
|cereals, total||2 944.22||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||470.21||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||18.229||1000 t||2018|
|beans, green||42.99||1000 t||2019|
|olives||1 228.13||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||79.37||1000 t||2019|
|seed cotton||837.432||1000 t||2018|
|flax fibre and tow||0$||1000 t||2017|
|hemp tow waste||0.48||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits||1 106.18||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||21.1||1000 t||2019|
|sweet potatoes||0.113||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, dry||7.933||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, green||4.06||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||1.61||1000 ha||2019|
|seed cotton||265.485||1000 ha||2018|
|flax fibre and tow||0$||1000 ha||2017|
|hemp tow waste||0.36||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits||44.23||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||0.95||1000 ha||2019|
|timber||1 453 201||m³||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||534||1000 heads||2019|
|sheep||8 427||1000 heads||2019|
|goats||3 580||1000 heads||2019|
|asses and mules||21.881||1000 heads||2018|
|birds||37 604||1000 heads||2018|
|silk, raw||0.003||1000 t||2018|
|crustaceans and molluscs||38 639.42||t||2019|
The most important mineral productions are lignite (mined in western Macedonia, in Euboea and in the Peloponnese), bauxite (main deposits are at Ámfissa, Dístomo and Lamía), and nickel. There are mines of chromite, manganese, lead, zinc, magnesite and pyrite.
Small amounts of oil are also extracted. Emery (a variety of corundum) is a valuable product from the island of Naxos, as is marble.
Energy and industry.
Thermo-electric production predominates (linked to the lignite deposits). There is an electrical power link between Greece and Italy on the bed of the Strait of Otranto.
A gas pipeline connects the country to Turkey; another one to Bulgaria is being built, while the construction works on the TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) to Italy have been completed. On 2 January 2020, Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed an agreement on the Eastmed gas pipeline, which will transport natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe. The regasification terminal on the island of Revithoussa, near Athens, was recently expanded.
The industrial sector is poorly diversified: sectors with a low added value predominate, such as food, tanning and textiles. Metallurgy is relatively well-developed (steel, nickel and aluminium). Oil refineries are at Asprópyrgos, Corinth, Eleusis and Thessaloníki. The chemical industry produces, in particular, sulfuric acid, nitric acid and nitrogen fertilizers (in Eleusis and Piraeus). Cotton mills and the carpet industry predominate in the textile sector.
The sugar, tobacco, paper and leather industries are important. Other industries include cement and rubber.
|coal, total||13 998.2||1000 t||2020|
|lignite||13 998.2||1000 t||2020|
|bauxite||1 700||1000 t||2019|
|bentonite||1 300||1000 t||2020|
|marble - t||1 890||1000 t||2016|
|- thermal||29 683.32||M kWh||2019|
|- other renew.||13 104.33||M kWh||2019|
|- thermal||10 517.97||1000 kW||2018|
|- other renew.||6 435||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||46 752.45||M kWh||2019|
|total installed capacity||19 580.97||1000 kW||2018|
|bitumen||1 142||1000 t||2018|
|petrol||7 775.2||1000 t||2014|
|artificial yarn||3.4||1000 t||2001|
|carpets||1 707.7||1000 m²||2018|
|cotton fabrics||0.591||M m²||2018|
|footwear||1 362 058||pairs||2018|
|beer of barley||360.111||1000 t||2018|
|cottonseed oil||11.2||1000 t||2018|
|cigarettes||18 450.3||M units||2018|
|cigars and cigarettes||18 450.3||M units||2018|
|other paper||276.572||1000 t||2019|
|cement||6 580||1000 t||2018|
|chemicals production||1 652.316||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||5 361.446||M US$||2018|
The trade balance remains in deficit, only in part counter-balanced, at least until 2018-19, by the growth in exports, by income from tourism and by the chartering of the merchant fleet.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) petroleum products 9 799, aluminium 1 814, home appliances and machinery 1 454, pharmaceuticals 1 333, plastics 1 255, electrical and electronic equipment 1 153, fruit and vegetables 1 145, fruit & vegetable juices and preserves 1 097, iron and steel 1 055, fish 745
Finance and banking.
The banking system is predominantly public. There are, however, plans for privatization.
|manufactures||37.505||% of goods exports||2019|
|fuels||31.551||% of goods exports||2019|
|Italy||3 691||M US$||2020|
|Germany||2 686||M US$||2020|
|Germany||6 605||M US$||2020|
|Italy||4 602||M US$||2020|
Tourism. The tourist sector contributes about 20% of the national revenue and employs about 16% of the population.
|Expenditures||4 211||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||31 348 000||units||2019|
The road system is relatively well-developed, while the railway network is rather limited. Services related to maritime navigation are widespread; the ferry system between the island is very well-developed. The Corinth Canal (6 km) joins the Gulf of Corinth to the Gulf of Aegina, enabling ships to avoid circumnavigating the Peloponnese. The Corinth Canal is crossed by the Rion-Antirion road bridge, one of the longest cable-stayed bridge in Europe.
An agreement was approved in 2016 that granted use of the Piraeus port by the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), which aims to create a trading hub between Asia and Europe. In 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with China regarding the Belt and Road Initiative.
|Civil aviation, km flown||95 700 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||16 124.7||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||396.158||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||94$||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
School is free and compulsory from the ages of 6 to 15. Primary education lasts six years; secondary education is divided into two three-year cycles.
Social security and health.
Health and social security have suffered from cuts on account of austerity measures.
|Expected years of schooling||19.5||years||2018|
|Students, primary level||643 187||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||668 196||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||41.754||% of total expenses||2019|
|Social protection spending||24.021||% of GDP||2019|
|Hospital beds||4.2||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|Physicians||6.1||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||0.2||% of adults||2017|
|Archaeological sites, visitors||2 671 900||units||2020|
|Research and development spending||1.27||% of GDP||2019|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2019|