Introduction :: Greece


Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. In World War II, Greece was first invaded by Italy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Germany (1941-44); fighting endured in a protracted civil war between supporters of the king and other anti-communist and communist rebels. Following the latter’s defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. In 1967, a group of military officers seized power, establishing a military dictatorship that suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country. In 1974 following the collapse of the dictatorship, democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. In 1981, Greece joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 2001. Greece has suffered a severe economic crisis since late 2009, due to nearly a decade of chronic overspending and structural rigidities. Beginning in 2010, Greece entered three bailout agreements – with the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), the IMF, and the third in 2015 with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – worth in total about $300 billion. The Greek Government formally exited the third bailout in August 2018.

Geography :: Greece


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

Geographic coordinates

39 00 N, 22 00 E

Map references



total: 131,957 sq km

land: 130,647 sq km

water: 1,310 sq km

Area – comparative

Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,110 km

border countries (4): Albania 212 km, Bulgaria 472 km, Macedonia 234 km, Turkey 192 km


13,676 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers


mountainous with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands


mean elevation: 498 m

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917

note: Mount Olympus actually has 52 peaks but its highest point, Mytikas (meaning “nose”), rises to 2,917 meters; in Greek mythology, Olympus’ Mytikas peak was the home of the Greek gods

Natural resources

lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt, hydropower potential

Land use

agricultural land: 63.4% (2011 est.)

arable land: 19.7% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 8.9% (2011 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 34.8% (2011 est.)

forest: 30.5% (2011 est.)

other: 6.1% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

15,550 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

one-third of the population lives in and around metropolitan Athens; the remainder of the country has moderate population density mixed with sizeable urban clusters

Natural hazards

severe earthquakes

volcanism: Santorini (367 m) has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; although there have been very few eruptions in recent centuries, Methana and Nisyros in the Aegean are classified as historically active

Environment – current issues

air pollution; air emissions from transport and electricity power stations; water pollution; degradation of coastal zones; loss of biodiversity in terrestrial and marine ecosystems; increasing municipal and industrial waste

Environment – international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds

Geography – note

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

People and Society :: Greece


10,607,051 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Greek(s)

adjective: Greek

Ethnic groups

Greek 91.6%, Albanian 4.4%, other 4% (2011)

note: data represent citizenship; Greece does not collect data on ethnicity


Greek (official) 99%, other (includes English and French) 1%


Greek Orthodox (official) 81-90%, Muslim 2%, other 3%, none 4-15%, unspecified 1% (2015 est.)

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 56.1

youth dependency ratio: 21.3

elderly dependency ratio: 34.8

potential support ratio: 2.9 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 45.3 years

male: 43.7 years

female: 46.8 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.31% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

7.8 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

12 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

one-third of the population lives in and around metropolitan Athens; the remainder of the country has moderate population density mixed with sizeable urban clusters


urban population: 79.7% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.22% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

3.153 million ATHENS (capital), 812,000 Thessaloniki (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth

29.8 years (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

3 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.1 years

male: 78.5 years

female: 83.8 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.38 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Drinking water source

improved:** urban:** 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

8% (2017)

Physicians density

5.48 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

4.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** urban:** 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

0.2% (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

14,000 (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

<100 (2017 est.)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

24.9% (2016)

Education expenditures



definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97.7%

male: 98.5%

female: 96.9% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 18 years

male: 18 years

female: 18 years (2016)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 39.9%

male: 36.4%

female: 43.9% (2018 est.)

Government :: Greece

Country name

conventional long form: Hellenic Republic

conventional short form: Greece

local long form: Elliniki Dimokratia

local short form: Ellas or Ellada

former: Hellenic State, Kingdom of Greece

etymology: the English name derives from the Roman (Latin) designation “Graecia,” meaning “Land of the Greeks”; the Greeks call their country “Hellas” or “Ellada”

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Athens

geographic coordinates: 37 59 N, 23 44 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: Athens is the oldest European capital city; according to tradition, the city is named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom; in actuality, the appellation probably derives from a lost name in a pre-Hellenic language

Administrative divisions

13 regions (perifereies, singular – perifereia) and 1 autonomous monastic state* (aftonomi monastiki politeia); Agion Oros* (Mount Athos), Anatoliki Makedonia kai Thraki (East Macedonia and Thrace), Attiki (Attica), Dytiki Ellada (West Greece), Dytiki Makedonia (West Macedonia), Ionia Nisia (Ionian Islands), Ipeiros (Epirus), Kentriki Makedonia (Central Macedonia), Kriti (Crete), Notio Aigaio (South Aegean), Peloponnisos (Peloponnese), Sterea Ellada (Central Greece), Thessalia (Thessaly), Voreio Aigaio (North Aegean)


3 February 1830 (from the Ottoman Empire); note – 25 March 1821, outbreak of the national revolt against the Ottomans; 3 February 1830, signing of the London Protocol recognizing Greek independence by Great Britain, France, and Russia

National holiday

Independence Day, 25 March (1821)


history: many previous; latest entered into force 11 June 1975

amendments: proposed by at least 50 members of Parliament and agreed by three-fifths majority vote in two separate ballots at least 30 days apart; passage requires absolute majority vote by the next elected Parliament; entry into force finalized through a “special parliamentary resolution”; articles on human rights and freedoms and the form of government cannot be amended; amended 1986, 2001, 2008

Legal system

civil legal system based on Roman law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Greece

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


17 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: President Ekaterini SAKELLAROPOULOU (since 13 March 2020)

head of government: Prime Minister Kyriakos MITSOTAKIS (since 8 July 2019)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president elected by Hellenic Parliament for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 January 2020 (next to be held by February 2025); president appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party or coalition in the Hellenic Parliament
election results: Katerina SAKELLAROPOULOU (independent) elected president by Parliament – 261 of 300 votes; note – SAKELLAROPOULOU is Greece’s first woman president

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Hellenic Parliament or Vouli ton Ellinon (300 seats; 280 members in multi-seat constituencies and 12 members in a single nationwide constituency directly elected by open party-list proportional representation vote; 8 members in single-seat constituencies elected by simple majority vote; members serve up to 4 years); note – only parties surpassing a 3% threshold are entitled to parliamentary seats; parties need 10 seats to become formal parliamentary groups but can retain that status if the party participated in the last election and received the minimum 3% threshold

elections: last held on 7 July 2019 (next to be held by July 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party – ND 39.9%, SYRIZA 31.5%, KINAL 8.1%, KKE 5.3%, Greek Solution 3.7%, MeRA25 3.4%, other 8.1%; seats by party – ND 158, SYRIZA 86, KINAL 22, KKE 15, Greek Solution 10, MeRA25 9; composition – men 244, women 56, percent of women 18.7%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or Areios Pagos (consists of 56 judges, including the court presidents); Council of State (supreme administrative court) (consists of the president, 7 vice presidents, 42 privy councilors, 48 associate councilors and 50 reporting judges, organized into six 5- and 7-member chambers; Court of Audit (government audit and enforcement) consists of the president, 5 vice presidents, 20 councilors, and 90 associate and reporting judges

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by presidential decree on the advice of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), which includes the president of the Supreme Court, other judges, and the prosecutor of the Supreme Court; judges appointed for life following a 2-year probationary period; Council of State president appointed by the Greek Cabinet to serve a 4-year term; other judge appointments and tenure NA; Court of Audit president appointed by decree of the president of the republic on the advice of the SJC; court president serves a 4-year term or until age 67; tenure of vice presidents, councilors, and judges NA

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal and Courts of First Instance (district courts)

Political parties and leaders

Anticapitalist Left Cooperation for the Overthrow or ANTARSYA [collective leadership]
Coalition of the Radical Left or SYRIZA [Alexios (Alexis) TSIPRAS]
Communist Party of Greece or KKE [Dimitrios KOUTSOUMBAS]
Democratic Left or DIMAR [Athanasios (Thanasis) THEOCHAROPOULOS]
European Realistic Disobedience Front or MeRA25 [Yanis VAROUFAKIS]
Greek Solution [Kyriakos VELOPOULOS]
Independent Greeks or ANEL [Panagiotis (Panos) KAMMENOS]
Movement for Change or KINAL [Foteini (Fofi) GENIMMATA]
New Democracy or ND [Kyriakos MITSOTAKIS]
People’s Association-Golden Dawn [Nikolaos MICHALOLIAKOS]
Popular Unity or LAE [Panagiotis LAFAZANIS]
The River (To Potami) [Stavros THEODORAKIS]
Union of Centrists or EK [Vasileios (Vasilis) LEVENTIS]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Theocharis LALAKOS (since 27 June 2016)
chancery: 2217 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: 1 939-1300

FAX: 1 939-1324
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Tampa (FL), San Francisco

consulate(s): Atlanta, Houston

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Geoffrey R. PYATT (since 24 October 2016)

telephone: 30 721-2951

embassy: 91 Vasillisis Sophias Avenue, 10160 Athens

mailing address: PSC 108, APO AE 09842-0108

FAX: 30 645-6282
consulate(s) general: Thessaloniki

Flag description

nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white; a blue square bearing a white cross appears in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy, the established religion of the country; there is no agreed upon meaning for the nine stripes or for the colors

note: Greek legislation states that the flag colors are cyan and white, but cyan can mean “blue” in Greek, so the exact shade of blue has never been set and has varied from a light to a dark blue over time; in general, the hue of blue normally encountered is a form of azure

National symbol(s)

Greek cross (white cross on blue field, arms equal length); national colors: blue, white

National anthem


Economy :: Greece

Economy – overview

Greece has a capitalist economy with a public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP about two-thirds that of the leading euro-zone economies. Tourism provides 18% of GDP. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, mainly in agricultural and unskilled jobs. Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of annual GDP.

The Greek economy averaged growth of about 4% per year between 2003 and 2007, but the economy went into recession in 2009 as a result of the world financial crisis, tightening credit conditions, and Athens’ failure to address a growing budget deficit. By 2013, the economy had contracted 26%, compared with the pre-crisis level of 2007. Greece met the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criterion of no more than 3% of GDP in 2007-08, but violated it in 2009, when the deficit reached 15% of GDP. Deteriorating public finances, inaccurate and misreported statistics, and consistent underperformance on reforms prompted major credit rating agencies to downgrade Greece’s international debt rating in late 2009 and led the country into a financial crisis. Under intense pressure from the EU and international market participants, the government accepted a bailout program that called on Athens to cut government spending, decrease tax evasion, overhaul the civil-service, health-care, and pension systems, and reform the labor and product markets. Austerity measures reduced the deficit to 1.3% in 2017. Successive Greek governments, however, failed to push through many of the most unpopular reforms in the face of widespread political opposition, including from the country’s powerful labor unions and the general public.

In April 2010, a leading credit agency assigned Greek debt its lowest possible credit rating, and in May 2010, the IMF and euro-zone governments provided Greece emergency short- and medium-term loans worth $147 billion so that the country could make debt repayments to creditors. Greece, however, struggled to meet the targets set by the EU and the IMF, especially after Eurostat – the EU’s statistical office – revised upward Greece’s deficit and debt numbers for 2009 and 2010. European leaders and the IMF agreed in October 2011 to provide Athens a second bailout package of $169 billion. The second deal called for holders of Greek government bonds to write down a significant portion of their holdings to try to alleviate Greeces government debt burden. However, Greek banks, saddled with a significant portion of sovereign debt, were adversely affected by the write down and $60 billion of the second bailout package was set aside to ensure the banking system was adequately capitalized.

In 2014, the Greek economy began to turn the corner on the recession. Greece achieved three significant milestones: balancing the budget – not including debt repayments; issuing government debt in financial markets for the first time since 2010; and generating 0.7% GDP growth the first economic expansion since 2007.

Despite the nascent recovery, widespread discontent with austerity measures helped propel the far-left Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party into government in national legislative elections in January 2015. Between January and July 2015, frustrations grew between the SYRIZA-led government and Greeces EU and IMF creditors over the implementation of bailout measures and disbursement of funds. The Greek government began running up significant arrears to suppliers, while Greek banks relied on emergency lending, and Greeces future in the euro zone was called into question. To stave off a collapse of the banking system, Greece imposed capital controls in June 2015, then became the first developed nation to miss a loan payment to the IMF, rattling international financial markets. Unable to reach an agreement with creditors, Prime Minister Alexios TSIPRAS held a nationwide referendum on 5 July on whether to accept the terms of Greeces bailout, campaigning for the ultimately successful “no” vote. The TSIPRAS government subsequently agreed, however, to a new $96 billion bailout in order to avert Greeces exit from the monetary bloc. On 20 August 2015, Greece signed its third bailout, allowing it to cover significant debt payments to its EU and IMF creditors and to ensure the banking sector retained access to emergency liquidity. The TSIPRAS government which retook office on 20 September 2015 after calling new elections in late August successfully secured disbursal of two delayed tranches of bailout funds. Despite the economic turmoil, Greek GDP did not contract as sharply as feared, boosted in part by a strong tourist season.

In 2017, Greece saw improvements in GDP and unemployment. Unfinished economic reforms, a massive non-performing loan problem, and ongoing uncertainty regarding the political direction of the country hold the economy back. Some estimates put Greeces black market at 20- to 25% of GDP, as more people have stopped reporting their income to avoid paying taxes that, in some cases, have risen to 70% of an individuals gross income.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$299.3 billion (2017 est.)
$295.3 billion (2016 est.)
$296 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$200.7 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

1.4% (2017 est.)
-0.2% (2016 est.)
-0.3% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$27,800 (2017 est.)
$27,400 (2016 est.)
$27,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

10.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
9.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
9.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 69.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 20.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 12.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 33.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -34.7% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 16.9% (2017 est.)

services: 79.1% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products


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

Industrial production growth rate

3.5% (2017 est.)

Labor force

4.769 million (2017 est.)

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 12.6%

industry: 15%

services: 72.4% (30 October 2015 est.)

Unemployment rate

21.5% (2017 est.)
23.6% (2016 est.)

Population below poverty line

36% (2014 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 26.7% (2015 est.)


revenues: 97.99 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 96.35 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

48.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

0.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

181.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
183.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.1% (2017 est.)
0% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

-$1.596 billion (2017 est.)
-$2.072 billion (2016 est.)


$31.54 billion (2017 est.)
$27.1 billion (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

Italy 10.6%, Germany 7.1%, Turkey 6.8%, Cyprus 6.5%, Bulgaria 4.9%, Lebanon 4.3% (2017)

Exports – commodities

food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles


$52.27 billion (2017 est.)
$45.45 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Imports – partners

Germany 10.4%, Italy 8.2%, Russia 6.8%, Iraq 6.3%, South Korea 6.1%, China 5.4%, Netherlands 5.3%, France 4.3% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$7.807 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.026 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt – external

$506.6 billion (31 March 2016 est.)
$468.2 billion (31 March 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar –
0.885 (2017 est.)
0.903 (2016 est.)
0.9214 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Greece

Electricity access

electrification – total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity – production

52.05 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

56.89 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

1.037 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

9.833 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

19.17 million kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

57% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

14% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

29% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

4,100 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

3,229 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Crude oil – imports

484,300 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

10 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

655,400 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

304,100 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

371,900 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

192,200 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Natural gas – production

8 million cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

4.927 billion cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

4.984 billion cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

991.1 million cu m (1 January 2018 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

69.37 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Greece

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 5,078,083

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 12,170,757

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 114 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: good mobile telephone and international services; 3 mobile network operators; broadband penetration developing steadily despite rough economic conditions; plans to repurpose 3G network for LTE and 5G by 2022 (2020)

domestic: microwave radio relay trunk system; extensive open-wire connections; submarine cable to offshore islands; 48 per 100 for fixed-line and 114 per 100 for mobile-cellular (2018)

international: country code – 30; landing points for the SEA-ME-WE-3, Adria-1, Italy-Greece 1, OTEGLOBE, MedNautilus Submarine System, Aphrodite 2, AAE-1 and Silphium optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Asia and Australia; tropospheric scatter; satellite earth stations – 4 (2 Intelsat – 1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean, 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat – Indian Ocean region) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

broadcast media dominated by the private sector; roughly 150 private TV channels, about 10 of which broadcast nationwide; 1 government-owned terrestrial TV channel with national coverage; 3 privately owned satellite channels; multi-channel satellite and cable TV services available; upwards of 1,500 radio stations, all of them privately owned; government-owned broadcaster has 2 national radio stations

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 7,783,381

percent of population: 72.95% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 3,961,864

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Greece

Military and security forces

Hellenic Armed Forces: Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES; includes National Guard reserves), Hellenic Navy (Elliniko Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia, EPA; includes air defense) (2019)

Military expenditures

2.28% of GDP (2019 est.)
2.48% of GDP (2018)
2.34% of GDP (2017)
2.38% of GDP (2016)
2.3% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Hellenic Armed Forces have approximately 141,000 active duty personnel (90,000 Army; 16,000 Navy; 25,000 Air Force; 10,000 joint service, support, staff); approximately 35,000 National Guard (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Hellenic Armed Forces consists mostly of a mix of imported weapons from Europe and the US, as well as a limited number of domestically produced systems, particularly naval vessels; Germany is the leading supplier of weapons systems to Greece since 2010, followed by France and the US; Greece’s defense industry is capable of producing naval vessels and associated subsystems (2019 est.)

Military deployments

est. 1,000 Cyprus; 110 Kosovo (NATO); 140 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

19-45 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee’s 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 18 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation is 1 year for the Army and 9 months for the Air Force and Navy; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2014)

Transportation :: Greece

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 11 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 97

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 15,125,933 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 21.91 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

SX (2016)


77 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 68 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 6 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 15 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 19 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 18 (2017)

under 914 m: 10 (2017)

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 9 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)

under 914 m: 7 (2013)


9 (2013)


1329 km gas, 94 km oil (2013)


total: 2,548 km (2014)

standard gauge: 1,565 km 1.435-m gauge (764 km electrified) (2014)

narrow gauge: 961 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)

22 0.750-m gauge


total: 117,000 km (2018)


6 km (the 6-km-long Corinth Canal crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; it shortens a sea voyage by 325 km) (2012)

Merchant marine

total: 1,308

by type: bulk carrier 180, container ship 6, general cargo 95, oil tanker 375, other 652 (2019)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Aspropyrgos, Pachi, Piraeus, Thessaloniki

oil terminal(s): Agioi Theodoroi

container port(s) (TEUs): Piraeus (4,145,079) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Revithoussa

Terrorism :: Greece

Terrorist groups – home based

Revolutionary Struggle (RS): aim(s): disrupt the influence of globalization and international capitalism on Greek society and, ultimately, overthrow the Greek Government

area(s) of operation: operates exclusively inside Greece, primarily in Athens

note: largely inactive in recent years, with the exception of shootouts with police officers trying to arrest members (2018)

Transnational Issues :: Greece

Disputes – international

Greece and Turkey continue discussions to resolve their complex maritime, air, territorial, and boundary disputes in the Aegean Sea; the mass migration of unemployed Albanians still remains a problem for developed countries, chiefly Greece and Italy

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 23,931 (Syria), 9,291 (Afghanistan) (2018)

stateless persons: 198 (2018)

note: 1,201,663 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-September 2020); as of the end of December 2019, an estimated 112,300 migrants and refugees were stranded in Greece since 2015-16; 50,215 migrant arrivals in 2018

Illicit drugs

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; some South American cocaine transits or is consumed in Greece; money laundering related to drug trafficking and organized crime


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