The macroeconomic data of Greece restore the image of a country not only in an economic crisis, but also with structural characteristics that make the exit from this crisis a difficult process. Greece has a rather low per capita GDP, equal to just $ 25,762 measured in 2015 purchasing power parity. To this is added an unemployment rate of 27.3% (2013 data, World Bank), which rises to 58.4% among young people. The debt / GDP ratio, equal to 196.9%, is also very serious. The country’s trade balance is also suffering and records a negative trade deficit which in 2014 amounted to 26,425 million dollars.
Although a privatization program has been in place since the 1990s, the state still plays a significant role in the national economy, the underground has vast dimensions and the industry, which accounts for 13.3% of GDP, does not seem structurally capable. pulling the country out of the crisis.
Greece mainly produces cement, aluminum, olive oil, beer, tobacco, refined oil and has a developed telecommunications sector. Textile production, like what happens in other Western countries, is in decline, penalized by competition from countries with very low-cost labor such as Asia and Eastern Europe. The service sector, on the other hand, contributes positively to 82.8% of GDP and is dominated by tourism. In 2013, the sector contributed over 28 billion euros to the national GDP (about 16.3% of the total), employing almost 320,000 people, or 8.9% of the employed population.
After an average annual growth of 4.6% between 2000 and 2008, starting from 2009 the country entered a very serious economic recession (-8.9% GDP growth in 2011). Athens avoided bankruptcy only thanks to successive tranches of loans of 110, 130 and 30 billion, granted by the so-called troika, in exchange for an austerity policy. The latest rescue plan, agreed between Greece and creditors in August 2015, provides for a loan of 86 billion euros over three years. In a more dramatic re-release of what happened in 2012, Germany agreed to the unpopular lending only after the Greek commitment to take drastic measures to reduce debt. The debate centered on two options: to save Greece even if it did not respect the stability pact, or to let it default with unknown consequences for the whole region, also in consideration of the fact that the Greek sovereign debt is largely held by French and German banks. However, the conditions under which the loan was granted are so harsh that many analysts doubt their applicability. According to the weekly The Economist, Greece could exit the euro in the next five years.
Among the main causes of the financial distress, in addition to corruption and public finances that have been effectively rigged for years, was the huge growth of the debt in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Although Greece joined the eurozone in January 2002, declaring that it respected the Maastricht parameters on debt (debt / GDP ratio at 60%) and deficit (deficit / GDP ratio at 3%), a subsequent Eurostat revision showed how the declared data did not correspond to the actual ones. Consequence of the state of crisis in which the country finds itself, in June 2013 the decision to close the state television, the Ert. The closure was strongly opposed by the employees, who had initially occupied the premises and then reorganized themselves through an alternative and self-financed online information channel (ertopen.com). After about two years of closure, on 11 June 2015 the ERT resumed its broadcasts regularly, after the approval in parliament of its reopening.
The energy requirement Greek is weighing on the accounts, as Greece is forced to import over 75% of the energy it consumes. National oil production is not significant and for this reason most of the crude oil is imported, especially from Russia, for about 38%. Historically, Greece has tried to replace oil with brown coal, to exploit its fields and reduce dependence on imports. However, this policy is limited by commitments in favor of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to achieve which the government has favored the use of the gas. Even the latter is largely imported: while in the 1990s it came almost exclusively from Russia (still the main supplier today), due to a policy of diversification, it now also comes from Algeria and Azerbaijan.