EU Countries in Focus
Located near the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Greece is one of the cradles of European civilisation, whose city-states were pioneers in developing democratic forms of government. The historical and cultural heritage of Greece continues to resonate throughout the modern world - in literature, art, philosophy and politics.
Modern Greece has a republican structure based on the constitution of 1975. In 1981, Greece joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the European Economic and Monetary Union in 2001. More than 50% of Greek industry is located in the Greater Athens area and the country’s main economic sectors are agriculture, tourism, construction and shipping. In 2010, as an outcome of the economic crisis, the Greek government adopted a medium-term austerity program that included cutting government spending, decreasing tax evasion, reworking the health-care and pension systems, and reforming the labor and product markets. To support the Greek government’s efforts to get its economy back on track, euroarea Member States agreed on 2 May 2010
on a three-year programme, providing a total of EUR 80 billion in bilateral loans. Together with EUR 30 billion from a standby agreement with the IMF, a loan package of EUR 110 billion was made available to the country in staged increments, in response to certain targets being met. Greece, struggled to meet 2010 targets set by the EU and the IMF. On 2 May 2010, the Eurogroup agreed to provide bilateral loans pooled by the European Commission for a total amount of EUR 80 billion to be disbursed over the period May 2010 through June 2013. The financial assistance agreed by euro-area Member States is part of a joint package, with the IMF financing additional EUR 30 billion under a stand-by arrangement (SBA).
The massive austerity cuts are lengthening Greece’s economic recession and depressing tax revenues. Athens is pushing efforts to increase tax collection, privatize public enterprises, and rein in health spending, in order to give the country more time to reestablish its economy and finances. Many investors doubt that Greece can sustain fiscal efforts in the face of a bleak economic outlook, public discontent, and political instability.
© European Union
On 21st March 2012, interim Prime Minister Lucas Papademos appointed former banker, Deputy Minister Filippos Sachinidis, Finance Minster of Greece, to facilitate the morphing of the receipt of the IMF rescue package into a repair of Greece’s economy. Seen as a safe pair of hands, it will be down to Mr. Sachinidis to ensure that the austerity measures that many Greeks feel are too extreme, will be worth it, with a return of the Greek economy.
EU Partliament President Martin Shulz and Speaker of Greek Parliament Philippos Petsalnikos
Greece & Malaysia Greek Ambassador to Malaysia: H.E. Mr Dimitrios Tsikouris Source: www.europa.eu , CIA Factbook
EUMCCI Review 21
Coverage of the EUMCCI Quarterly Financial Panel Discussion and a main feature from IFBIM.