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Greece country profile

27 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 15 June 2012

Located near the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Greece forms the southern extremity of the Balkan peninsula in south-east Europe. Greece is a Member State of the EU, joining the European Community in 1981.



Located near the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Greece forms the southern extremity of the Balkan peninsula in south-east Europe. Its territory includes more than 2 000 islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas, of which only 170 or so are inhabited. Mount Olympus is the highest point in the country.

Greece is one of the cradles of European civilisation, whose ancient scholars made great advances in philosophy, medicine, mathematics and astronomy. Their city-states were pioneers in developing democratic forms of government. The historical and cultural heritage of Greece continues to resonate throughout the modern world - in literature, art, philosophy and politics.

Modern Greece has a republican structure based on the constitution of 1975. The 300 members of the single-chamber parliament are elected for a period of four years. The country is divided into 13 administrative regions.

More than 50% of Greek industry is located in the Greater Athens area. Greece's main economic sectors are agriculture, tourism, construction and shipping

The best-known contemporary Greeks include the film-maker Kostas Gavras, the Nobel Prize winner Odysseus Elitis and composer Mikis Theodorakis.

Greek cuisine is based on goat meat and mutton. Fish dishes are also popular. Olive oil, which is produced in large quantities, adds to the distinctive taste of Greek food.

Official name: Hellenic Republic

Area (km2): 131 957

Population: 10.77 million (July 2012 est.)

Capital: Athens

National holiday: 28 October

Currency: Euro (€)

Date of joining: 01 January 1981

Head of state: Karolos Papoulias, since March 2005

Head of government: Interim Prime Minister Panagiotis Molyviatis (since 16 May 2012)

GDP (millions €): 242 946 (2008); 245 931 (forecast for 2009)

GDP per capita in PPS: € 23 900 (2008); € 23 700 (forecast for 2009)

Real growth rate of GDP: -6% (2011 est.); -3.5% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate: 17.3% (2011 est.)

National debt as % of GDP: 165.4% (2011 est.); 142.7% (2010 est.)

Inflation: 2.9% (2011 est.)

Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -9.6% (2011 est.)


Head of State:
Head of Government:
Head of Government:
Foreign Minister:

Map of Greece

Source: European Commission, CIA - The World Factbook

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