Greece. The Pasok government (Panellinion Socialist icon Kinima, Panhellian socialist movement) won the parliamentary elections on April 9. The margin of the challenger ND (Nea Democracy, New Democracy) was only one percentage point – Pasok received 43.8% of the vote and ND 42.7%.
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis had announced the election five months in advance to be able to negotiate membership in the European Monetary Union EMU with a new mandate from the population. The Greek currency, the drachman, had been revalued by 3.5% on January 15. After the revaluation, inflation fell to 2.1%, which was enough for Greece to meet the last of the formal criteria for applying for membership in EMU. Greece therefore submitted his application on 9 March.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of Greece. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
Greece’s Foreign Minister Georgios Papandreou visited his colleague Ismail Cem in Turkey on January 20-22. Cem repaid the visit by coming to Athens two weeks later. They decided, among other things, to set up a joint working group to reduce tensions around the Aegean Sea. On June 2, the two countries participated in a NATO exercise in Greece. However, during a longer NATO exercise in October, it became clear that the contradictions consisted of issues relating to Cyprus and the border crossing between the Aegean countries. Greece withdrew from the exercise three days before concluding.
Stephen Saunders, Defense Attaché at the British Embassy in Athens, was shot dead on June 8 in the Greek capital. The left organization on November 17 assumed responsibility for the deed. The killers had not been arrested at the end of the year. In August, information came out that Greece and the United States had agreed on cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
79 people drowned when the Express Samina passenger ferry crashed with over 500 passengers aboard just outside the port on Paros Island on September 26. Captain Vassilis Yannakis admitted that he had taken a nap at the time. After the accident, the government decided to gradually scrap over 100 ferries older than 30 years and to allow foreign companies to operate domestic routes.
In March 2016, the EU signed an agreement with Turkey to welcome returned boat refugees. Turkey, in turn, received 6 billion. €. The aim was not to solve the refugee crisis, but merely to prevent refugees from coming to Europe. The agreement was therefore that all boat refugees could be sent back to Turkey, which in turn could equal the same number of refugees across the EU border. As there was no longer access to the EU as a boat refugee, this flow died down during the spring. On the other hand, those who arrived were interned in camps on the Greek islands for return. This was in clear conflict with the UN Refugee Convention and this prompted UNHCR and MSF to stop cooperation with the Greek authorities in protest against the EU’s breach of the Convention. In June, MSF went even further, refusing to accept EU support in protest of the Union’s human rights violations.
Despite fierce protests in Athens, in May, Parliament adopted the disputed pension reform with Syrizas + ANEL’s 153 votes against 144. The reform included a ceiling of € 384 a month in retirement after 20 years of employment. Before the reform, the pension could be up to € 1300. The reason for the fierce opposition to the reform was that many of the country’s unemployed – especially young people – had lived through their parents ‘or grandparents’ pension for eight years. The cuts would therefore throw not only pensioners but also their unemployed family members into deep poverty. Furthermore, the VAT rate was increased to 24%.
By the end of 2016, despite the EU’s agreement with Turkey, 173,450 refugees had been transported across the Aegean Sea to Greece. 450 were dead along the way or were missing. There were 47,400 refugees and asylum seekers on the mainland and 15,384 in the islands. While the EU provided massive financial assistance to Turkey, there was no EU funding for Greece to cope with the massive refugee pressure. Despite very difficult conditions, refugees were nevertheless better received in Greece by the state and especially by private organizations and groups than in any other EU country.
Athens, Athens, Greek Athēʹnai, New Greek Athinai, capital and largest city in Greece; 753,500 residents (2010), in the metropolitan area 3. 8 million. Athens is located on the Attic plain, near the Gulf of Aegina (Saronic Gulf) in the Aegean Sea, and surrounded by the Pateras, Parnes, Pentelikon and Hymettos Mountains. Together with the port city of Piraeus, Athens forms the Balkan Peninsula’s largest urban agglomeration, Greater Athens, which forms its own administrative region (iamerisma). The city has hosted the Summer Olympics three times: 1896, 1906 and 2004.
Greece has been industrialized in relatively modern times, and much of the industry is concentrated in the Athens-Piraeus area. A variety of industries are represented. Originally, the emphasis was on the food and textile industries, but later on the metal and chemical industries were added, located in Piraeus. The lack of effective environmental laws for industry – in combination with the topographical situation – has led to severe pollution of both air and water. Athens is the economic center of Greece and holds the headquarters of a number of banks, insurance companies, shipping companies and – not least because of the great importance of the tourism industry – travel agencies. Athens is also the communication center of Greece, and the city has road and rail links with other parts of the country. Piraeus is the main port city and center of the shipbuilding industry.
Athens has the same range of higher education institutions as most million cities: universities (founded in 1837), a technical college and a number of other colleges. To this is added a school with a special archaeological focus. The Greek Academy of Sciences has its headquarters in Athens, and several European states, including Sweden, here has important institutes for research on antiquity. In Athens there is the Greek National Theater, which is known for its sets of ancient dramas, as well as an opera. The city also has a whole series of museums, several with collections from antiquity. These include the National Museum of Archeology, the Historical Museum, the Acropolis Museum, a numismatic museum and the Kerameikos Museum. Otherwise there is a Byzantine museum with objects from early Christian and Byzantine times as well as the Benaki Museum (arts and crafts from Greece and the Orient).
According to COUNTRYAAH, the population of Greece in 2000 was 11,081,993, ranking number 71 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.620% yearly, and the population density was 85.9744 people per km2.