Greece Update [December 16, 2009]   [open pdf - 202KB]

"The Greek city-state of Athens is believed to have developed the first known democracy around 500 B.C. Modern Greece has been a democracy since the toppling of a military junta in 1974. Since then, the New Democracy (ND) party and the PanHellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) have alternated leadership of the government. ND ruled from March 2004 until October 4, 2009, when PASOK won national elections and a clear majority of the seats in parliament. PASOK's victory has been attributed to anti-ND public sentiment caused by the economic recession, corruption scandals, and law-and-order issues. On taking power, PASOK inherited a severe financial crisis: economic growth has contracted for three consecutive quarters in 2009, and the budget deficit is projected to be 12.7.% of gross domestic product (GDP) and debt to be 125% of GDP in 2010. Therefore, the economy is the dominating issue on the government's agenda. The Greek government's foreign policy focuses on the European Union (EU), sometimes-strained relations with Turkey, reunifying Cyprus, resolving a dispute with Macedonia over its name, other Balkan issues, and sustaining good relations with the United States. Greece has assisted with the war on terrorism, but is not a member of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and has a limited presence with NATO in Afghanistan."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS21855
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/
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