Greece is a country in South-eastern Europe bordering Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. It is a unitary parliamentary republic and traces its lineage back to Ancient Greece, the birthplace of Western philosophy, democracy and the Olympic Games
. The country has recorded a slight population growth every year over the past decade. According to statistics, the population of Greece will reach 11.21 million in 2013
As a result of its diverse topography, population density stands at approximately 87.81 inhabitants per square kilometre
. Extremely mountainous terrain gives way to the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas, where 1,400 islands draw tourists from all over the world. In fact, tourism is vitally important to Greece and makes up a large portion of the country’s service sector. In 2011, Greece recorded 40 billion U.S. dollars worth of service exports
The economy is classed as advanced and high-income. It grew rapidly after the country joined the European Union in 1981, reaching its zenith in 2008 when GDP per capita was an estimated 30,779 U.S. dollars
. Since 2009 however, the Greek economy has experienced an unparalleled debt crisis. GDP has fallen sharply to 21,038 U.S. dollars, while unemployment has skyrocketed. In 2013, Greece will have an unemployment rate of 25.37 percent
In order to avoid a catastrophic default, other euro area nations agreed on a fiscal rescue package, along with the International Monetary Fund worth some 45 billion euros. This proved insufficient however, and by 2012, a second bailout worth 130 billion euros was approved.
This was subject to strict conditions and fiscal reform involving a public sector cull and harsh austerity measures. Germany
has provided the bulk of funding to the European Stability Mechanism
which implemented the rescue package. Anti-German sentiment has been rising in Greece as a result, where immense dissatisfaction has led to street clashes and protests.
Greece is a founding member of the United Nations and joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952. The country became a member of the European Union
in 1981. Despite the debt crisis, Greece has continued to record strong export figures
. At the same time however, national debt has risen continuously. By 2013, Greek national debt will reach 346 billion U.S. dollars
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