Greece Population, Politics and Economy
Population in Greece
As a seafaring nation and a country with many coasts and islands, Greece has always been both a country of emigration and a destination for conquerors and emigrants. Therefore, in addition to the Christian Orthodox, Greek-speaking majority population, there are a number of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, most of whom immigrated from the neighboring Balkan countries. Since Greece does not statistically record its immigrant population groups, the information on the proportion of the total population of just under 11 million residents (2018) is only based on estimates and can vary greatly depending on the political point of view. According to directoryaah, there are minorities of about 0.5% Turks, 0.4% Macedonians and Aromanians, 0.3% Armenians, 0.2% Roma and Albanians and 0, 1% Megleno Romanians and Sarakatsans in Greece. The Arvanites, descendants of Albanians who came to Greece centuries ago or whose settlement areas were integrated into Greece, are largely assimilated today. It is estimated that up to 1.6 million Greeks have Arvanite ancestors. Illegal immigration to Greece, especially from Africa, is considerable due to the ongoing refugee crisis and uncontrollable sea borders.
Although most Greeks speak Modern Greek (a further development of the ancient Greek language known from antiquity), you can communicate quite well with English on a trip through Greece. German is even spoken occasionally in the relevant tourist and seaside resorts.
At 1.3 children per woman, the birth rate was one of the lowest in the world, which is also reflected in a decline in population growth of around -0.03%. As a result, the Greek population is already one of the oldest in the world and will continue to age according to current developments.
Politics and economics in Greece
The system of government in Greece is a parliamentary republic. The president, who is elected by parliament for five years, heads the state and enjoys a high reputation among the population. Above all, it represents the state in its relationship with other states, proclaims referenda and also has a general right of veto in parliament. Although the President of the Republic, unlike the government, has limited political power, his duties include the formal appointment of the Prime Minister, on whose recommendation he also appoints or dismisses other members of the government.
The Prime Minister is the head of the government which, with the Council of Ministers, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Ministers, the Deputy Ministers and the Ministers of State, represents the collective, decisive body in Greece. The Greek parliament consists of one chamber with 300 seats and is elected every four years by secret, general, free, equal and direct elections.
The legislature is carried out by the Parliament and the President of the Republic. Executive power is exercised by both the president and the government. The judiciary is anchored in the courts, whose laws are applied on behalf of the people.
General elections are usually held every four years, unless parliament is dissolved beforehand. All Greek citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote. Every new government must appear before parliament after a general election or after the previous government has resigned and demand a vote of confidence.
According to ebizdir, Greece is based on a market-oriented economy with limited state intervention. The gross domestic product was around 25,000 euros per capita in 2017. The service industry is the largest and most important economic sector in Greece, with tourism as an important growth market benefiting the travel country and strengthening Greece’s position in the travel business, especially among the Mediterranean countries.
The most important branches of industry are the manufacturing and construction industries. The domestic market, which stagnated from 2007 onwards due to the financial crisis, and lower production costs led to a stronger focus on exports in the manufacturing industry. Traditionally, food, textile products, metal products, petroleum and coal products, chemicals, glass and cement, machines and, more recently, technology and telecommunications products are produced.
Due to its geographical location, Greece has a high potential for both solar and wind energy, in the economic use of which has recently been invested heavily. In addition, Greece has significant gas and oil reserves that have so far only been developed in the North Aegean. It is assumed that there are still considerable supplies, primarily in the Ionian Sea.
The unemployment rate in Greece was 21.5% in 2017, with youth unemployment being particularly high. In addition, the average cost of living for Greece has risen steadily since the last financial and euro crisis, which unfortunately means that the travel destination can no longer be counted among the cheap holiday destinations.
Transport network in Greece
The 117,000 km long road network in Greece is developed according to European standards and comprises over 2,000 km of motorways and over 9,400 km of national roads. For the use of some motorways as well as for some tunnels, bridges and national road sections, tolls are charged to finance the structures. The southern peninsula of Peloponnese is connected to the mainland in the west by the Rion-Antirion Bridge. To the east, too, there are several ways to cross the Corinth Canal, which separates the peninsula from the mainland. The regional KTEL cooperatives operate a network of long-distance connections with intercity buses as well as local transport in small towns and in the countryside. This means that individual travelers in Greece can move around the country well without their own vehicle.
The railway network of the Greek Railway Company OSE has less importance for the traffic in Greece due to the mountainous topography and many islands. Many sections of the 2,548 km rail network are only single-track and have been severely neglected in recent decades. However, new and modern trains run between the big cities and neighboring countries. The north-western interior of the country is not served by the railway network.
Traditionally, merchant shipping is of great importance to the Greek economy. Due to the long coastline and the numerous Greek islands, shipping is also an important means of passenger transport, both inland and to the neighboring Mediterranean countries of Italy and Turkey. Due to its proximity to Athens, the most important port for domestic connections is still Piraeus, but the importance of the port of Rafina, which is being expanded, is increasing. The ports of Igoumenitsa and Patras on the Peloponnese are important for ferry connections to Italy.
For trips from abroad, Greece has 15 airports for international flight connections. The largest and most important airport is Athens-Eleftherios-Venizelos Airport. In addition to the Thessaloniki-Makedonia airport, the airports of Heraklion, Rhodes, Kos, Corfu, Chania and Zakynthos are of particular importance for travel in and to Greece. The Greek airlines Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines as well as numerous foreign airlines serve a dense network from Athens and Thessaloniki, both to connections within Greece and to numerous European metropolises such as London, Madrid, Paris, Rome or Vienna.