Greece (Ελλάδα, transliterated: Elláda , historically Ἑλλάς, Ellás, ), officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία, Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía, ), is a country in southeastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. It has borders with Albania, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both parts of the Eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.
Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is heir to the heritages of ancient Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule. Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama including both tragedy and comedy.
Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981, a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001, NATO since 1952, the OECD since 1961, the WEU since 1995 and ESA since 2005. Athens is the capital; Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Volos, Ioannina, Larissa and Kavala are some of the country's other major cities.
The shores of the Aegean sea saw the emergence of the first advanced civilizations in Europe, the Minoan civilization in Crete and the Mycenean civilization on the mainland. Later, city-states emerged across the Greek peninsula and spread to the shores of Black Sea, South Italy and Asia Minor reaching great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, expressed in architecture, drama, science and philosophy, and nurtured in Athens under a democratic environment. Athens and Sparta led the way in repelling the Persian Empire in a series of battles. Both were later overshadowed by Thebes and eventually Macedon, with the latter under the guidance of Alexander the Great uniting and leading the Greek world to victory over the Persians, to presage the Hellenistic era, itself brought only partially to a close two centuries later with the establishment of Roman rule over Greek lands in 146 BC.
The subsequent mixture of Roman and Hellenic cultures took form in the establishment of the Byzantine Empire in 330 AD around Constantinople, which remained a major cultural and military power for the next 1,123 years, until its fall at the hands of Ottomans in 1453. On the eve of the Ottoman era the Greek intelligentsia migrated to Western Europe, playing a significant role in the Western European Renaissance through the transferring of works of Ancient Greeks to Western Europe. Nevertheless, the Ottoman millet system contributed to the cohesion of the Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the Ottoman Empire based on religion, as the latter played an integral role in the formation of modern Greek identity.
After the Greek War of Independence, successfully fought against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 to 1829, the nascent Greek state was finally recognized under the London Protocol. In 1827, Ioannis Kapodistrias, a noble Greek from the Ionian Islands, was chosen as the first governor of the new Republic. However, following his assassination, the Great Powers soon installed a monarchy under Otto, of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. In 1843, an uprising forced the King to grant a constitution and a representative assembly. Due to his unimpaired authoritarian rule, he was eventually dethroned in 1863 and replaced by Prince Vilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name George I and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. In 1877, Charilaos Trikoupis, a dominant figure of the Greek political scene who is attributed with the significant improvement of the country's infrastructure, curbed the power of the monarchy to interfere in the assembly by issuing the rule of vote of confidence to any potential prime minister.
As a result of the Balkan Wars, Greece successfully increased the extent of her territory and population, a challenging context both socially and economically. In the following years, the struggle between King Constantine I and charismatic prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos over the country's foreign policy on the eve of World War I dominated the country's political scene, and divided the country into two bitterly hostile factions.
In the aftermath of WW I, Greece fought against Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal, a war which resulted in a massive population exchange between the two countries under the Treaty of Lausanne. Instability and successive coups d'etat marked the following era, which was overshadowed by the massive task of incorporating 1.5 million Greek refugees from Asia Minor into Greek society. On 28 October 1940 Fascist Italy demanded the surrender of Greece, but Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas refused and in the following Greco-Italian War, Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the Allies their first victory over Axis forces on land. The country would eventually fall to urgently dispatched German forces during the Battle of Greece. The German occupiers nevertheless met serious challenges from the Greek Resistance.
After liberation, Greece experienced a bitter civil war between Royalist and Communist forces, which led to economic devastation and severe social tensions between its Rightists and largely Communist Leftists for the next 30 years. The next 20 years were characterized by marginalisation of the left in the political and social spheres but also by a significant economic growth, propelled in part by the Marshall Plan.
In 1965, a period of political turbulence led to a coup d’etat on 21 April 1967 by the US-backed Regime of the Colonels. On November 1973 the Athens Polytechnic Uprising sent shock waves across the regime, and a counter-coup established Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannides as dictator. On 20 July 1974, as Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus, the regime collapsed.
Former premier Constantine Karamanlis was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since 1963, marking the beginning of the Metapolitefsi era. On the 14 August 1974 Greek forces withdrew from the integrated military structure of NATO in protest at the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. In 1975 a democratic republican constitution was activated and the monarchy abolished by a referendum held that same year. Meanwhile, Andreas Papandreou founded the Panhellenic Socialist Party, or PASOK, in response to Constantine Karamanlis' New Democracy party, with the two political formations dominating Greek political affairs in the ensuing decades. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980. Relations with neighbouring Turkey have improved substantially over the last decade, since successive earthquakes hit both nations in the summer of 1999 (see Greece-Turkey earthquake diplomacy), and today Athens is an active supporter of Turkey's bid for EU membership.
Greece became the tenth member of the European Union on 1 January 1981 and ever since the nation has experienced a remarkable and sustained economic growth. Widespread investments in industrial enterprises and heavy infrastructure, as well as funds from the European Union and growing revenues from tourism, shipping and a fast growing service sector have raised the country's standard of living to unprecedented levels. The country adopted the Euro in 2001 and successfully organised the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Greece is a parliamentary republic. The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term. The current Constitution was drawn up and adopted by the Fifth Revisionary Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975 after the fall of the military junta of 1967-1974. It has been revised twice since, in 1986 and in 2001. The Constitution, which consists of 120 articles, provides for a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and grants extensive specific guarantees (further reinforced in 2001) of civil liberties and social rights.
According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. The Constitutional amendment of 1986 the President's duties were curtailed to a significant extent, and they are now largely ceremonial. The position of Prime Minister, Greece's head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister exercises vast political power, and the amendment of 1986 further strengthened his position to the detriment of the President of the Republic.
Legislative power is exercised by a 300-member elective unicameral Parliament. Statutes passed by the Parliament are promulgated by the President of the Republic. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, but the President of the Republic is obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier on the proposal of the Cabinet, in view of dealing with a national issue of exceptional importance. The President is also obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier, if the opposition manages to pass a motion of no confidence.
The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises three Supreme Courts: the Court of Cassation (Άρειος Πάγος), the Council of State (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) and the Court of Auditors (Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο). The Judiciary system is also composed of civil courts, which judge civil and penal cases and administrative courts, which judge disputes between the citizens and the Greek administrative authorities.
Since the restoration of democracy, the Greek two-party system is dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). Other significant parties include the Communist Party of Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left and the Popular Orthodox Rally. The current prime minister is Kostas Karamanlis, president of the New Democracy party and nephew of the late Constantine Karamanlis, who won a second term on 16 September 2007, acquiring a slimmer majority in the Parliament with only 152 out of 300 seats.
Administratively, Greece consists of thirteen peripheries subdivided into a total of fifty-one prefectures (nomoi, singular nomos). There is also one autonomous area, Mount Athos (Agio Oros, "Holy Mountain"), which borders the periphery of Central Macedonia.
|2||Central Greece||Lamia||15,549 km²||605,329|
|3||Central Macedonia||Thessaloniki||18,811 km²||1,871,952|
|5||East Macedonia and Thrace||Komotini||14,157 km²||611,067|
|7||Ionian Islands||Corfu||2,307 km²||212,984|
|8||North Aegean||Mytilene||3,836 km²||206,121|
|10||South Aegean||Ermoupoli||5,286 km²||302,686|
|12||West Greece||Patras||11,350 km²||740,506|
|13||West Macedonia||Kozani||9,451 km²||301,522|
|-||Mount Athos (Autonomous)||Karyes||390 km²||2,262|
Greece consists of a mountainous mainland jutting out into the sea at the southern end of the Balkans, the Peloponnesus peninsula (separated from the mainland by the canal of the Isthmus of Corinth), and numerous islands (around 2,000), including Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Chios, the Dodecanese and the Cycladic groups of the Aegean Sea as well as the Ionian Sea islands. Greece has the tenth longest coastline in the world with ; its land boundary is .
Four fifths of Greece consist of mountains or hills, making the country one of the most mountainous in Europe. Western Greece contains a number of lakes and wetlands and it is dominated by the Pindus mountain range. Pindus has a maximum elevation of and it is essentially a prolongation of the Dinaric Alps.
The range continues through the western Peloponnese, crosses the islands of Kythera and Antikythera and find its way into southwestern Aegean, in the island of Crete where it eventually ends. The islands of the Aegean are peaks of underwater mountains that once constituted an extension of the mainland. Pindus is characterized by its high, steep peaks, often dissected by numerous canyons and a variety of other karstic landscapes. Most notably, the impressive Meteora formation consisting of high, steep boulders provides a breathtaking experience for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the area each year.
The Vikos-Aoos Gorge is yet another spectacular formation and a popular hotspot for those fond of extreme sports. Mount Olympus, a focal point of Greek culture throughout history is host to the Mytikas peak , the highest in the country. Once considered the throne of the Gods, it is today extremely popular among hikers and climbers. Moreover, northeastern Greece features yet another high-altitude mountain range, the Rhodope range, spreading across the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace; this area is covered with vast, thick, ancient forests. The famous Dadia forest is in the prefecture of Evros, in the far northeast of the country.
Expansive plains are primarily located in the prefectures of Thessaly, Central Macedonia and Thrace. They constitute key economic regions as they are among the few arable places in the country.Rare marine species such as the Pinniped Seals and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle live in the seas surrounding mainland Greece, while its dense forests are home to the endangered brown bear, the lynx, the Roe Deer and the Wild Goat.
Phytogeographically, Greece belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the East Mediterranean province of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and the European Environment Agency, the territory of Greece can be subdivided into six ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests, Balkan mixed forests, Rodope montane mixed forests, Aegean and Western Turkey sclerophyllous and mixed forests and Crete Mediterranean forests.
The climate of Greece can be categorised into three types (the Mediterranean, the Alpine and the Temperate) that influence well-defined regions of its territory.The Pindus mountain range strongly affects the climate of the country by making the western side of it (areas prone to the south-westerlies) wetter on average than the areas lying to the east of it (lee side of the mountains).The Mediterranean type of climate features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The Cyclades, the Dodecanese, Crete, Eastern Peloponessus and parts of the Sterea Ellada region are mostly affected by this particular type of climate. Temperatures rarely reach extreme values along the coasts, although, with Greece being a highly mountainous country, snowfalls occur frequently in winter. It sometimes snows even in the Cyclades or the Dodecanese.
The Alpine type is dominant mainly in the mountainous areas of Northwestern Greece (Epirus, Central Greece, Thessaly, Western Macedonia) as well as in the central parts of Peloponnese, including the prefectures of Achaia, Arcadia and parts of Laconia, where extensions of the Pindus mountain range pass by). Finally, the Temperate type affects Central Macedonia and East Macedonia and Thrace; it features cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers. Athens is located in a transitional area featuring both the Mediterranean and the Temperate types. The city's northern suburbs are dominated by the temperate type while the downtown area and the southern suburbs enjoy a typical Mediterranean type.
After World War II, Greece experienced the "Greek economic miracle"; GDP growth averaged 7% between 1950 and 1973. Since then Greece has implemented of a number of structural and fiscal reforms while receiving considerable European Union funding. In 2001 Greece joined the Economic and Monetary Union. Annual growth of Greek GDP has surpassed the respective levels of most of its EU partners. Today, the service industry makes up the largest, most vital and fastest-growing sector of the Greek economy, followed by industry and agriculture. The tourism industry is a major source of foreign exchange earnings and revenue accounting for 15% of Greece’s total GDP and employing ,directly or indirectly, 16.5% of the total workforce.
Greece is a leading investor in all of her Balkan neighbors with the National Bank of Greece in 2006 acquiring the 46% of Turkish Finansbank and 99.44% of Serbia's Vojvođanska Bank.The manufacturing sector accounts for about 13% of GDP with the food industry leading in growth, profit and export potential. The public sector accounts for about 40% of GDP, with the government however taking measures to decrease it further. High-technology equipment production, especially for telecommunications, is also a fast-growing sector. Other important areas include textiles, building materials, machinery, transport equipment, and electrical appliances. At 10% of GDP, construction is one of the main pillars of the economy, with the sector experiencing a boom due to the Athens Olympics of 2004. Agriculture, at 7%, is the final important sector of Greek economic activity.
The Greek labor force totals 4.9 million, and it is the second most industrious in the world, after South Korea. The Groningen Growth & Development Centre has published a poll revealing that between 1995 - 2005, Greece was the country with the largest work/hour ratio among European nations; Greeks worked an average of 1,900 hours per year, followed by the Spanish (average of 1,800 hours/year). In 2007, the average worker made around 20 dollars, similar to Spain and slightly more than half of average U.S. hourly income. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, occupied mainly in agricultural and construction work.
Greece's purchasing power-adjusted GDP per capita is the world's 28th highest. According to the International Monetary Fund it has an estimated average per capita income of $35,166 for the year 2007, comparable to that of Germany, France or Italy and approximately equal to the EU average. Greece ranks 24th in the 2006 HDI, 22nd on The Economist's 2005 world-wide quality-of-life index. According to a survey by the Economist, the cost of living in Athens is close to 90% of the costs in New York; in rural regions it is lower.
An important percentage of Greece's income comes from tourism. In 2007, Greece welcomed more than 19 million tourists, and climbed to the top ten tourist destinations worldwide. The island of Rhodes was announced the best European tourist destination. Other known tourist sites are the capital Athens, and the island resort of Myconos.
The shipping industry is a key element of Greek economic activity dating back to ancient times. Today, shipping is one of the country's most important industries. It accounts for 4.5% of GDP, employs about 160,000 people (4% of the workforce), and represents 1/3 of the country's trade deficit.
During the 1960s the size of the Greek fleet nearly doubled, primarily through the investment undertaken by the shipping magnates Onassis and Niarchos. The basis of the modern Greek maritime industry was formed after World War II when Greek shipping businessmen were able to amass surplus ships sold to them by the United States Government through the Ship Sales Act of the 1940s. According to the BTS, the Greek-owned maritime fleet is today the largest in the world, with 3,079 vessels accounting for 18% of the world's fleet capacity (making it the largest of any other country) with a total dwt of 141,931 thousand (142 million dwt). In terms of ship categories, Greece ranks first in both tankers and dry bulk carriers, fourth in the number of containers, and fourth in other ships. However, today's fleet roster is smaller than an all-time high of 5,000 ships in the late 70's.
In 2003, public spending on R&D was 456,37 million Euros (12,6% increase from 2002). Total research and development (R&D) spending (both public and private) as a percentage of GDP has increased considerably since the beginning of the past decade, from 0,38% in 1989, to 0,65% in 2001. R&D spending in Greece remains lower than the EU average of 1,93%, but, according to Research DC, based on OECD and Eurostat data, between 1990 and 1998, total R&D expenditure in Greece enjoyed the third highest increase in Europe, after Finland and Ireland.
Greece's technology parks with incubator facilities include the Science and Technology Park of Crete (Heraklion), the Thessaloniki Technology Park,the Lavrio Technology Park and the Patras Science ParkGreece has been a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2005. Cooperation between ESA and the Hellenic National Space Committee began in the early 1990s. In 1994, Greece and ESA signed their first cooperation agreement. Having formally applied for full membership in 2003, Greece became ESA's sixteenth member on 16 March 2005. As member of the ESA, Greece participates in the agency's telecommunication and technology activities, and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Initiative.
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The official Statistical body of Greece is the National Statistical Service of Greece (NSSG). According to the NSSG, Greece's total population in 2001 was 10,964,020. That figure is divided into 5,427,682 males and 5,536,338 females. As statistics from 1971, 1981, and 2001 show, the Greek population has been aging the past several decades. The birth rate in 2003 stood 9.5 per 1,000 inhabitants (14.5 per 1,000 in 1981). At the same time the mortality rate increased slightly from 8.9 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 to 9.6 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2003. In 2001, 16.71% of the population were 65 years old and older, 68.12% between the ages of 15 and 64 years old, and 15.18% were 14 years old and younger. Greek society has also rapidly changed with the passage of time. Marriage rates kept falling from almost 71 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 until 2002, only to increase slightly in 2003 to 61 per 1,000 and then fall again to 51 in 2004. Divorce rates on the other hand, have seen an increase – from 191.2 per 1,000 marriages in 1991 to 239.5 per 1,000 marriages in 2004. Almost two-thirds of the Greek people live in urban areas. Greece's largest municipalities in 2001 were: Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras, Iraklio, Larissa, and Volos.
Throughout the 20th century, millions of Greeks had migrated to the US, UK, Australia and Germany, creating a thriving diaspora that accounts today almost 6 million people. The migration trend however was reversed after the important improvements of Greek economy since the 80's.
The only minority in Greece that has a specially recognized legal status is the Muslim minority (Μουσουλμανική μειονότητα, Mousoulmanikí meionótita) in Thrace, which amounts to approximately 0.95% of the total population. Its members are predominantly of Turkish, Pomak and Roma ethnic origins. Other recognized minorities include approximately 35,000 Armenians and 5,500 Jews.
Further minority languages have traditionally been spoken by regional population groups in various parts of the country. Their use has decreased radically in the course of the 20th century through assimilation with the Greek-speaking majority. This goes for the Arvanites, an Albanian-speaking group mostly located in the rural areas around the capital Athens, and for the Aromanians and Moglenites, also known as Vlachs, whose language is closely related to Romanian and who used to live scattered across several areas of mountaneous central Greece. Members of these groups ethnically identfiy as Greeks and are today all at least bilingual in Greek. In many areas their traditional languages are today only maintained by the older generations and are on the verge of extinction.
In northern Greece there are also Slavic-speaking groups, whose members identify ethnically as Greeks in their majority. Their dialects can be linguistically classified as forms of either Macedonian (locally called Slavomacedonian or simply Slavic), or Bulgarian (distinguished as Pomak in the case of the Bulgarophone Muslim Pomaks of Thrace).
The greatest cluster of non-EU immigrant population is in the Municipality of Athens –some 132,000 immigrants, at 17% of local population. Thessaloniki is the second largest cluster, with 27,000, reaching 7% of local population. After this, the predominant areas of location are the big cities environs and the agricultural areas. At the same time, Albanians constituted some 56% of total immigrants, followed by Bulgarians (5%), Georgians (3%) and Romanians (3%). Americans, Cypriots, British and Germans appeared as sizeable foreign communities at around 2% each of total foreign population. The rest were around 690,000 persons of non-EU or non-homogeneis (of non-Greek heritage) status.
According to the same study, the foreign population (documented and undocumented) residing in Greece may in reality figure upwards to 8.5% or 10.3%, that is approximately meaning 1.15 million - if immigrants with homogeneis cards are accounted for.
The constitution of Greece recognizes the Greek Orthodox faith as the "prevailing" religion of the country, while guaranteeing freedom of religious belief for all. The Greek Government does not keep statistics on religious groups and censuses do not ask for religious affiliation. According to the State Department, an estimated 97% of Greek citizens identify themselves as Greek Orthodox. In the Eurostat - Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 81% of Greek citizens responded that they believe there is a God, the third highest percentage among EU members behind only Malta and Cyprus.
Estimates of the recognized Muslim minority, which is mostly located in Thrace, range from 98,000 to 140,000, (between 0.9% and 1.2%) while the immigrant Muslim community numbers between 200,000 and 300,000. Albanian immigrants to Greece are usually associated with the Muslim faith, although most are secular in orientation. Judaism has existed in Greece for more than 2,000 years. Sephardi Jews used to have a large presence in the city of Thessaloniki, but nowadays the Greek-Jewish community who survived the Holocaust is estimated to number around 5,500 people.
Greek members of Roman Catholic faith are estimated at 50,000 with the Roman Catholic immigrant community approximating 200,000. Old Calendarists account for 500,000 followers. The Jehovah's Witnesses report having 30,000 active members. Protestants including Evangelicals stand at about 30,000. Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost and other Pentecostals denominations are about 12,000. Mormons can also be found with 420 followers. The ancient Greek religion has also reappeared as Hellenic Neopaganism, with estimates of approximately 2,000 adherents (comprising 0.02% of the general population).
Compulsory education in Greece comprises primary schools (Δημοτικό Σχολείο, Dimotikó Scholeio) and gymnasium (Γυμνάσιο). Nursery schools (Παιδικός σταθμός, Paidikós Stathmós) are popular but not compulsory. Kindergartens (Νηπιαγωγείο, Nipiagogeío) are now compulsory for any child above 4 years of age. Children start primary school aged 6 and remain there for six years.Attendance at gymnasia starts at age 12 and last for three years. Greece's post-compulsory secondary education consists of two school types: unified upper secondary schools (Ενιαίο Λύκειο, Eniaia Lykeia) and technical-vocational educational schools (Τεχνικά και Επαγγελματικά Εκπαιδευτήρια, "TEE"). Post-compulsory secondary education also includes vocational training institutes (Ινστιτούτα Επαγγελματικής Κατάρτισης, "IEK") which provide a formal but unclassified level of education. As they can accept both Gymnasio (lower secondary school) and Lykeio (upper secondary school) graduates, these institutes are not classified as offering a particular level of education.
Public higher education is divided into universities, "Highest Educational Institutions" (Ανώτατα Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα, Anótata Ekpaideytiká Idrýmata, "ΑΕΙ") and "Highest Technological Educational Institutions" (Ανώτατα Τεχνολογικά Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα, Anótata Technologiká Ekpaideytiká Idrýmata, "ATEI"). Students are admitted to these Institutes according to their performance at national level examinations taking place after completion of the third grade of Lykeio. Additionally, students over twenty-two years old may be admitted to the Hellenic Open University through a form of lottery. The Capodistrian university of Athens is the oldest university in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek education system also provides special kindergartens, primary and secondary schools for people with special needs or difficulties in learning. Specialist gymnasia and high schools offering musical, theological and physical education also exist.
Some of the main universities in Greece include:
National and Capodistrian University of Athens National Technical University of Athens University of PiraeusAgricultural University of Athens University of Macedonia (in Thessaloniki) University of Crete Technical University of Crete Athens University of Economics and Business Aristotle University of Thessaloniki University of the Aegean (across the Aegean Islands) Democritus University of Thrace University of Ioannina University of Thessaly University of Western Macedonia Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences University of Patras Charokopeio University of Athens Ionian University (across the Ionian Islands)
Greece home to the first modern Olympics, holds a long tradition in sports. The Greek national football team, currently ranked 18th in the world, won the UEFA Euro 2004 in one of the biggest surprises in the history of the sport. The Greek Super League is the highest professional football league in the country comprising of 16 teams. The most successful of them are Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, AEK Athens, PAOK and Aris. The Greek national basketball team has a decades-long tradition of excellence in the sport. As of August 2008 it is ranked 4th in the world. They have won the European Championship twice in 1987 and 2005, and have reached the final four in three of the last four FIBA World Championships, taking the second place in 2006. The domestic top basketball league, A1 Ethniki, is composed of fourteen teams. The most successful Greek teams are Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, Aris, AEK Athens and PAOK. Water polo and volleyball are also practiced widely in Greece while cricket, handball are relatively popular in Corfu and Veroia respectively.As the birth place of the Olympic Games, Greece was most recently host of 2004 Summer Olympics and the first modern Olympics in 1896.
The Hellenic Armed Forces are overseen by the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (Γενικό Επιτελείο Εθνικής Άμυνας - ΓΕΕΘΑ) and consists of three branches:
The civilian authority for the Greek military is the Ministry of National Defence. Furthermore, Greece maintains the Hellenic Coast Guard for law enforcement in the sea and search and rescue. Greece currently has universal compulsory military service for males while females (who may serve in the military) are exempted from conscription. As a member of NATO, the Greek military participates in exercises and deployments under the auspices of the alliance.
|United Nations Development Programme|| Human Development Index 2006|
Human Development Index 2004
Human Development Index 2000
| 24 out of 177 |
24 out of 177
24 out of 177
|International Monetary Fund||GDP per capita (PPP)||18 out of 180|
|The Economist||Worldwide Quality-of-life Index, 2005||22 out of 111|
|Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal||Index of Economic Freedom||57 out of 157|
|Reporters Without Borders|| Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006|
Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005
Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2004
| 32 out of 168 |
18(tied) out of 168
33 out of 167
|Transparency International|| Corruption Perceptions Index 2006|
Corruption Perceptions Index 2005
Corruption Perceptions Index 2004
| 54 out of 163 |
47 out of 158
49 out of 145
|World Economic Forum||Global Competitiveness Report||47 out of 125|
|Yale University/Columbia University||Environmental Sustainability Index 2005||67 out of 146|
|Nationmaster||Labor strikes||13 out of 27|
|A.T. Kearney / Foreign Policy|| Globalization Index 2006|
Globalization Index 2005
Globalization Index 2004
| 32 out of 62 |
29 out of 62
28 out of 62