Greece : Name of the country: Hellas – Republic of Greece (Elliniki Dimokratia) (in Greek Ellas, Ellada)
People: Ellines (Hellenes – Greeks) Women: Ellenides Men: Ellines
Size: 131.940 sq. km (land 99%, sea 1%)
Coastline: 13,676 km
Population: just under 11000000 (46% men, 54% women)
Language: Greek (Ellinika)
Coordinates: 39 00N 22 00E
Borders to: Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey
Highest mountain: Mt Olympus, 2917 m
Capital: Athens
Natural resources: petroleum, marble, hydro power, magnetite, lignite, bauxite (and gold)
Natural hazards: earthquakes
Currency: EURO €

Government:The President of the Republic is hierarchically at the top of the executive, he is involved in the law by issuing and publishing the laws and the possibility of returning to the House of a passed bill or a draft law, while he is defined by the Constitution as regulator of the government.Executive power is exercised by the Government, whose head is the Prime Minister, the strongest person in the Greek political system. The Government defines and guides the general policy of the country, implements the policy that Parliament adopts through legislative acts, but at the same time takes part in the legislative process through the drafting and promotion of draft laws (legislative initiative). The Government, on the basis of the stated principle, has to enjoy the confidence of the House, to have received a vote of confidence from the majority of MPs. In the context of modern party democracy, the government also dominates in the legislative function, as it comes from the Party that controls the majority of Parliament, thus making the passage of laws a typically formal process. Because of the frequent and abusive invocation of party discipline, the possibility of a government member’s disagreement with the government he supports is considered a rare phenomenon. In exceptional cases the
Government may propose to the President of the Republic the adoption of Acts of Legislative Content, which have the force of law and must be approved in principle within 40 days by the House.

GREEK ARMY

The Greek Armed Forces consist of the Land Forces, the Navy and the Air Force. Military service in Greece is compulsory and concerns Greek male citizens and has a duration of 24 months, which is usually limited by a decision of the Minister of National Defence. Thus, by 2009, Greece had a mandatory 12-month mandate for all men over the age of 18. Even though women’s requests for service are accepted, their commitment is not mandatory. In February 2009 the Minister of Defence announced that from 2010 that those responsible for military service will be classified only in the Army and for a term of 9 months, which means that the Navy and the Air Force will be staffed exclusively by professional soldiers.Finally, as of 14 August 2009, the military service was 9 months, and there were similar reductions in the length of time for those serving a reduced term. Also, there is a full Navy and Aviation manning plan only by professionals by 2012.

ESY

National Health System: The Greek NHS (ESY) is free and covers all Greeks and EU citizens. Non-EU citizens can obtain services only in cases of emergency. Private doctors and surgeries however are not expensive in Greece, particularly dentists and General Practitioners. A visit will cost you around 50 euro. Some medicines, such as antibiotics do not require prescriptions in Greece.Smoking: Smoking is totally banned in public places as is the case in many other European countries. Smoking is not allowed in hospitals, buses, trams, trolleys, the metro, ferries, airports, and all public buildings. You can smoke only in restaurants, cafes and bars that have an open air space.
Employment: All EU citizens are able to work or carry out their businesses in Greece. Other laws apply to non-EU citizens

Passports and Visas: Greece belongs to the European Union and is part of the Segen countries. All EU citizens can enter Greece with or without passports but must show their EU Identity Cards. Non-EU citizens need passports and some nationalities will require to obtain a visa. This includes travellers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, and other countries.

Climate

sunshine

The climate of Greece is typically Mediterranean. Summers are long, hot, and dry. The average temperature in July is 26.7¡ C (80¡ F), in Athens, the capital, but is much lower in the mountains. Winters are mild; the average January temperature is 9.2¡ C (48.5¡ F). Winter temperatures are also much lower in the interior; in mountain valleys averages are close to freezing, and prolonged frosts may occur. Snow is not uncommon away from the coasts. Precipitation varies greatly. In Athens it averages 394 mm (16 in) annually, but it is much higher away from the east coast and rises to more than 1,200 mm (47 in) in the higher mountains. In all parts of the country rainfall is seasonal, most of it coming in late fall and winter. Only in Macedonia and Thrace is there a significant summer rainfall; almost no rain falls in the rest of the country.

Drainage

Few rivers exist in peninsular Greece; all are small, and most dry up in the summer. Only those rivers which rise farther north in the Balkan Peninsula and flow through northern Greece to the sea, the Vardar and Struma, for example have any significant summer discharge. The small size and seasonal character of most rivers is the primary reason for the limited use of irrigation. Of the several lakes within the mountains, many of them in northern Greece, most occupy basins that were formed by the dissolution of limestone.

Vegetation

Naturally occurring vegetation is adapted to the climate and consists largely of xerophyta, which are plants that are able to withstand the summer drought by the storage of water. Spring is the primary growing season, and flowering plants make a brilliant show during this time, before withering under the summer heat. The mountains are mostly clothed with a relatively dense scrub brush (called maquis). Evergreen forests may once have covered much of the land but have been largely destroyed in southern Greece. Extensive forest is found only in the mountains of northwestern Greece, where large stands of fir occur. About 19% of the total area is forested.

Resources

Greece is poorly endowed with minerals and fuel. Although some lignite (a soft coal) is produced, no economically significant coal deposits exist. Oil has been found in northwestern Greece and on the floor of the Aegean Sea. The Pinos oil field, off the island of Thasos, has been producing petroleum since 1981. Reserves of hydroelectric power are slight because of the small size and seasonal flow of most rivers. Iron ore and bauxite are the most important mineral resources; bauxite is quarried to the north of the Gulf of Corinth, and most of it is exported. Small amounts of pyrites (used in making sulfuric acid), lead, zinc, magnesite, manganese, chrome, and silver are also mined. In most cases the ore is exported for smelting elsewhere.

Road network: During the last 20 years the road and rail network of Greece has been modernised in such a degree that offers fast and secure access from almost every part of Greece to the other.
The road and highways network has been upgraded and new modern highways are connecting the Greek cities. One of the major works was the Egnatia highway that connects north west Greece (Igoumenitsa) with northern and north west Greece. The bridge of Rio Antirio (the longest suspension cable bridge in Europe) connects the western Peloponnesus from Rio (7 km from Patras) with Antirion in the central west Greece. Until the year 2014 it will be ready the new Pyrgos-Patras-Athens highway witch will be replace the old Patras Athens national motorway.

The new road to Tripolis from Corinth makes the journey from Corinth to Tripolis in only one hour. Most of the parts of the highway Athens-Lamia-Thessaloniki has been also upgraded making the journey to Thessaloniki only a 4 hours drive.
One of the biggest infrastructure works that have improved the transport in Athens was the creation of Attiki odos, the Athens metro, the tram and the suburban railway. Getting around in Athens has been enormously improved since then.
Roads
total: 117 000 km
paved: 107 406 km (1030 km of motorways – 2006 estimate)
unpaved: 9594 km (1996)

The Rion-Antirion bridge linking the Peloponnese to mainland Greece. The Suspension bridge is the world’s longest (2250 m long). It crosses the Gulf of Patras in five spans of 500 m supported by four huge piers supported on the seabed.

Railways: The Greek railway network has been also upgraded with double lines in many parts of the 2500 km network and new and faster trains of the latest technology (Intercity) make the train journey faster and confortable.The Greek railways connecting many cities of Greece as well as Greece with the rest of Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Turkey.

Greek Railways
Total: 2548 km
standard gauge (1435 m): 1565 km (83 km electrified AC 25 kV 50 Hz, 408 km double track, 23 km double standard gauge and metric)
narrow gauge: 961 km gauge metric mainly in the Peloponnese, 22 km gauge of 0750 m (mountain railway to Diakofto to Kalavrita).

Railway company Organismós Sidirodromon Elládos (OSE).
City with a subway system: Athens, Thessaloniki under construction.
City with a tram network: Athens.

Air transport: The new airport of Athens is one of the most modern airports in Europe it start operating a few years ago and serves thousands of flights to Greece from all over the world. Most of the Greek islands and many main cities of Greece are connecting by air mainly from the two major airlines of Greece Olympic and Aegean air. The air connection of many smaller Greek island has improved their tourism industry making the journey from Athens in less than an hour. Many major Greek island have long runways where during the summer season have hundreds of charter and direct flights from many European countries.

Airports in Greece
total 80

Airports with paved runways:
Total: 64
over 3000 m: 6
2500 3000 m: 15
1500 2500 m: 18
from 1000 to 1500 m: 17
under 1000 m: 8.

The Athens International Airport-Eleftherios Venizelos at Spata, is located 27km south-east of downtown.
National airline: Olympic Airlines.
Airports with grass runways:
Total: 16
over 3000 m: 1
1500 2500 m: 1
from 1000 to 1500 m: 2
under 1000 m: 12

Heliports: 2

The sea travel has been also enormously upgraded within the last decades with super fast ferries, high-speed boats, hydrofoils and catamarans that reduced in many cases the journey from Piraeus to 50% . Today the journey to Crete takes only 6 hours with the fast ferries and the journey from Patras to Ancona in Italy has been reduced from 36 hours to 19-20 hours. The Greek vessels like Greek ferries, passenger ships, cruise ships, are modern and they are build according the international and EU regulations with the latest standards for safe navigation, fire safety, marine environment protection and health regulations with many non smoking areas onboard.
The passengers can enjoy their journey with all comforts that the Greek shipping companies offer on their ships.
From the ports of Piraeus,Rafina and Lavrion depart the ferries for all the islands of the Aegean while the ports of Patras, Igoumenitsa and Kylini are connecting with the Ionian islands. From the ports of Volos and Agios Konstantinos you can get to the Sporades islands while from the ports of Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupolis to the North Aegean islands.

Ports
Alexandroupolis, Eleusis, Heraklion (Crete), Kavala, Corfu, Chania(Crete), Igoumenitsa, Laurion, Patras, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Volos (there are many other ports in all the Greek islands some small and some big like those in Rhodes, Kos, Limnos etc.)

Merchant Marine (under Greek flag)

Total: 779 ships (1,000 tons or more gross tonnage) totaling 24 744 872 tons (43 734 138 dead weight tonnes).
Vessel categories: bulk 273, cargo 60, chemical 22, combined bulk 5, ore 8, container carriers 43, liquefied gas 5, multi-purpose cargo 1, passenger 12, mixed cargo 2, oil 245, refrigerated cargo 3, RoRos 19 , Short-distance passengers 75, vehicle 2 (1999)

Greek shipowners have a very large fleet (about 20% of the commercial fleet globally, 40% at European level) in fact the larget fleet in the world, but only a small part is registered in Greece and travels under the Greek flag. The largest share is travelling under foreign flags registered in countries like Liberia, Panama, Cyprus, Malta etc.