[Country map of Greece]



Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey

Map references: Europe

total area: 131,940 sq km
land area: 130,800 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Alabama

Land boundaries: total 1,210 km, Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 228 km

Coastline: 13,676 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 6 nm

International disputes: complex maritime, air, and territorial disputes with Turkey in Aegean Sea; Cyprus question; dispute with The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over name, symbols, and certain constitutional provisions; Greece is involved in a bilateral dispute with Albania over border demarcation, the treatment of Albania's ethnic Greek minority, and migrant Albanian workers in Greece

Climate: temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into sea as peninsulas or chains of islands

Natural resources: bauxite, lignite, magnesite, petroleum, marble

Land use:
arable land: 23%
permanent crops: 8%
meadows and pastures: 40%
forest and woodland: 20%
other: 9%

Irrigated land: 11,900 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: air pollution; water pollution
natural hazards: severe earthquakes
international agreements: party to - Air Pollution, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea

Note: strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands


Population: 10,647,511 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 18% (female 904,374; male 947,494)
15-64 years: 67% (female 3,601,029; male 3,565,931)
65 years and over: 15% (female 919,044; male 709,639) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.72% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 10.56 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 9.31 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 5.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 8.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.92 years
male: 75.39 years
female: 80.59 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.46 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Greek(s)
adjective: Greek

Ethnic divisions: Greek 98%, other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece

Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%

Languages: Greek (official), English, French

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1991)
total population: 95%
male: 98%
female: 93%

Labor force: 4.077 million
by occupation: services 52%, agriculture 23%, industry 25% (1994)


conventional long form: Hellenic Republic
conventional short form: Greece
local long form: Elliniki Dhimokratia
local short form: Ellas
former: Kingdom of Greece

Digraph: GR

Type: presidential parliamentary government; monarchy rejected by referendum 8 December 1974

Capital: Athens

Administrative divisions: 52 prefectures (nomoi, singular - nomos); Aitolia kai Akarnania, Akhaia, Argolis, Arkadhia, Arta, Attiki, Dhodhekanisos, Dhrama, Evritania, Evros, Evvoia, Florina, Fokis, Fthiotis, Grevena, Ilia, Imathia, Ioannina, Iraklion, Kardhitsa, Kastoria, Kavala, Kefallinia, Kerkira, Khalkidhiki, Khania, Khios, Kikladhes, Kilkis, Korinthia, Kozani, Lakonia, Larisa, Lasithi, Lesvos, Levkas, Magnisia, Messinia, Pella, Pieria, Piraievs, Preveza, Rethimni, Rodhopi, Samos, Serrai, Thesprotia, Thessaloniki, Trikala, Voiotia, Xanthi, Zakinthos, autonomous region: Agion Oros (Mt. Athos)

Independence: 1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday: Independence Day, 25 March (1821) (proclamation of the war of independence)

Constitution: 11 June 1975

Legal system: based on codified Roman law; judiciary divided into civil, criminal, and administrative courts

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Konstantinos (Kostis) STEPHANOPOULOS (since 10 March 1995) election last held 10 March 1995 (next to be held by NA 2000); results - Konstantinos STEPHANOPOULOS was elected by Parliament
head of government: Prime Minister Andreas PAPANDREOU (since 10 October 1993)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president on recommendation of the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral
Chamber of Deputies (Vouli ton Ellinon): elections last held 10 October 1993 (next to be held by NA October 1997); results - PASOK 46.88%, ND 39.30%, Political Spring 4.87%, KKE 4.54%, and Progressive Left (replaced by Coalition of the Left and Progress) 2.94%; seats - (300 total) PASOK 170, ND 111, Political Spring 10, KKE 9

Judicial branch: Supreme Judicial Court, Special Supreme Tribunal

Political parties and leaders: New Democracy (ND; conservative), Miltiades EVERT; Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Andreas PAPANDREOU; Communist Party (KKE), Aleka PAPARIGA; Ecologist-Alternative List, leader rotates; Political Spring, Antonis SAMARAS; Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), Nikolaos KONSTANTOPOULOS


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Loucas TSILAS
chancery: 2221 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-5800
FAX: [1] (202) 939-5824
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
consulate(s): New Orleans

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas M.T. NILES
embassy: 91 Vasilissis Sophias Boulevard, 10160 Athens
mailing address: PSC 108, Athens; APO AE 09842
telephone: [30] (1) 721-2951, 8401
FAX: [30] (1) 645-6282
consulate(s) general: Thessaloniki

Flag: 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


Overview: Greece has a mixed capitalist economy with the basic entrepreneurial system overlaid in 1981-89 by a socialist system that enlarged the public sector from 55% of GDP in 1981 to about 70% in 1989. Since then, the public sector has been reduced to about 60% of GDP. Tourism continues as a major source of foreign exchange, and agriculture is self-sufficient except for meat, dairy products, and animal feedstuffs. Over the last decade, real GDP growth has averaged 1.6% a year, compared with the European Union average of 2.2%. Inflation continues to be well above the EU average, and the national debt has reached 140% of GDP, the highest in the EU. Prime Minister PAPANDREOU will probably make only limited progress correcting the economy's problems of high inflation, large budget deficit, and decaying infrastructure. His economic program suggests that although he will shun his expansionary policies of the 1980s, he will avoid tough measures needed to slow inflation or reduce the state's role in the economy. He has limited the previous government's privatization plans, for example, and has called for generous welfare spending and real wage increases. Athens continues to rely heavily on EU aid, which recently has amounted to about 6% of GDP. Greece almost certainly will not meet the EU's Maastricht Treaty convergence targets of public deficit held to 3% of GDP and national debt to 60% of GDP by 1999. Per capita GDP has fallen below Portugal's level, the lowest among EU members.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $93.7 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 0.4% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $8,870 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10.9% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 10.1% (1994 est.)

revenues: $28.3 billion
expenditures: $37.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.2 billion (1994)

Exports: $9 billion (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: manufactured goods 53%, foodstuffs 34%, fuels 5%
partners: Germany 24%, Italy 14%, France 7%, UK 6%, US 4% (1993)

Imports: $19.2 billion (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: manufactured goods 72%, foodstuffs 15%, fuels 10%
partners: Germany 16%, Italy 14%, France 7%, Japan 7%, UK 6% (1993)

External debt: $26.9 billion (1993)

Industrial production: growth rate 3.2% (1993 est.); accounts for 18% of GDP

capacity: 8,970,000 kW
production: 35.8 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 3,257 kWh (1993)

Industries: tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining, petroleum

Agriculture: including fishing and forestry, accounts for 12% of GDP; principal products - wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; self-sufficient in food except meat, dairy products, and animal feedstuffs

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis and limited opium; mostly for domestic production; serves as 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; transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin transiting the Balkan route

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-81), $525 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $1.39 billion

Currency: 1 drachma (Dr) = 100 lepta

Exchange rates: drachmae (Dr) per US$1 - 238.20 (January 1995), 242.60 (1994), 229.26 (1993), 190.62 (1992), 182.27 (1991), 158.51 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 2,503 km
standard gauge: 1,565 km 1.435-m gauge (36 km electrified; 100 km double track)
narrow gauge: 887 km 1,000-m gauge; 22 km 0.750-m gauge; 29 km 0.600-m gauge

total: 130,000 km
paved: 119,210 km (116 km expressways)
unpaved: 10,790 km (1990)

Inland waterways: 80 km; system consists of three coastal canals; including the Corinth Canal (6 km) which crosses the Isthmus of Corinth connecting the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf and shortens the sea voyage from the Adriatic to Piraievs (Piraeus) by 325 km; and three unconnected rivers

Pipelines: crude oil 26 km; petroleum products 547 km

Ports: Alexandroupolis, Elevsis, Iraklion (Crete), Kavala, Kerkira, Khalkis, Igoumenitsa, Lavrion, Patrai, Piraievs (Piraeus), Thessaloniki, Volos

Merchant marine:
total: 1,046 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 29,076,911 GRT/53,618,024 DWT
ships by type: bulk 469, cargo 105, chemical tanker 22, combination bulk 21, combination ore/oil 31, container 40, liquefied gas tanker 5, oil tanker 239, passenger 14, passenger-cargo 3, refrigerated cargo 10, roll-on/roll-off cargo 16, short-sea passenger 67, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 1
note: ethnic Greeks also own 125 ships under Liberian registry, 323 under Panamanian, 705 under Cypriot, 351 under Maltese, and 100 under Bahamian

total: 79
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 5
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 17
with paved runways under 914 m: 22
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 3


Telephone system: 4,080,000 telephones; adequate, modern networks reach all areas; microwave radio relay carries most traffic; extensive open-wire network; submarine cables to off-shore islands
local: NA
intercity: microwave radio relay and open wire
international: tropospheric links, 8 submarine cables; 2 INTELSAT (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 EUTELSAT ground station

broadcast stations: AM 29, FM 17 (repeaters 20), shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 361
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Hellenic Army, Hellenic Navy, Hellenic Air Force, National Guard, Police

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 2,676,152; males fit for military service 2,046,996; males reach military age (21) annually 75,857 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $4.1 billion, 5.4% of GDP (1994)