Greece. According to countryaah, Athens is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Greece. Greece continued to struggle with financial problems during the year. The 2004 budget deficit was 6.1% of GDP, the highest recorded in any euro area since the introduction of the single currency in 1999 and well above the 3% limit stipulated in the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact. The European Commission gave Greece another year, i.e. until 2006, to bring down the budget deficit before sanctions would come into force. In March, the Conservative government decided to try to reduce the deficit by raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco and raising VAT from 18 to 19%. The government also wanted to reform the country’s labor market and pension legislation. Among other things, they wanted to replace many permanent jobs in the public sector with shorter contracts.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym GR stands for the country of Greece and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
The proposed reforms in June led to a three-week strike among bank employees and a 24-hour general strike. The government presented its plans in Parliament and on June 13 asked a vote of confidence, which was won by 165 out of 300 votes. Parliament approved the overwhelming majority of the new EU constitution on 19 April.
In October, the human rights organization Amnesty International criticized Greece for the treatment of refugees. According to the organization, Greek authorities violated international laws and conventions by arresting refugees at the border and forcing them to turn or lock them in prison-like conditions and deprive them of the right to seek asylum. In the report, Amnesty also expressed serious criticism of the Greek authorities’ treatment of the Roman minority.
All 121 people on board were killed when a Boeing 737 Cypriot passenger plane crashed August 14 straight into a mountain side northeast of Athens. The plane was on its way from Larnaca in Cyprus to Prague. The accident was the worst in Greece’s flight history.
Russia, France and Great Britain were eager to push the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire back in the early 19th century and were therefore included in the 1827 London Treaty, where they demanded independence for Greece. Turkey refused and the same year the Turkish-Egyptian navy was beaten by an ally. In 1830, the London Agreement was concluded, which gave complete independence to Greece, which, however, had to renounce Thessaly. In the following decades, the European superpowers waged a silent battle for control of the peninsula. They intervened in the internal affairs of the country and supported kings who were accommodating to their interests. Thus Otto of Bavaria (1831-1862) supported Russia, while Georg I (1863-1913) supported England.
In 1910, General Eleutherios Vinizelos conducted a coup d’etat, paving the way for a constitutional amendment which in 1911 introduced parliamentary monarchy. During both world wars and in the interwar period, a series of military coups were carried out, leading to alliances with one, soon the other party to the conflicts.
World War and Civil War
Greece was drawn into World War II when the Mussolini forces on October 28, 1940 attacked Albania. General Joannis Metaxas, Greece’s military dictator, fought despite his fascist sympathies against the invasion army. Hitler, however, came to Mussolini’s aid, and with united forces occupied the fascists Greece – supported by Bulgaria.
The resistance movement was organized and run by the EAM, which comprised various political groups from progressive liberals to communists. Its army – ELAS, led by General Markos Vafiades – waged an effective fight against the occupying power, and in December 1944 had 70,000 guerrillas under arms. EAM got 6 of 15 ministerial positions in the exile government of George Papandreou.
On October 12, 1944, the Germans withdrew from Athens, and four days later George Papandreou came to the country as head of government. Thus began the critical post-war period. Papandreou declared that the guerrilla forces no longer had any task to fulfill, and ordered that they should have delivered their weapons by December 10. The guerrilla army ELAS, which was dominated by the Communists at this time, refused to comply. They feared that the right wing would once again secure power in the country. The Communists counted on support from the Soviet Union, should it come to an end. They did not realize that Stalin and Churchill had agreed in October that Greece should belong to the UK’s area of interest and later The United States – Stalin, in turn, got Romania and Bulgaria. Papandreou maintained his demand for the surrender of arms and the creation of a new National Guard. This led to the EAM ministers leaving the government which then disbanded.
Immediately after – December 3, 1944, the EAM organized a large demonstration meeting at the Constitutional Square in Athens. At the Grande Brittany hotel, the British had their headquarters. As a group of civilian protesters approached the hotel, British guards opened fire. 28 Greeks were killed and hundreds more wounded. The shooting drama led to three weeks of bloody clashes in the capital. This became the prelude to the civil war, which started the following year and lasted until 1949. The EAM leaders had been expecting assistance from the Soviet Union, but were instead condemned by Stalin, who complied with the agreement with Churchill. As early as August 1944, Churchill had secretly informed Rosevelt that he was changing alliance partners. Britain had supported EAM/ELAS to drive the Nazis and their collaborators out of Greece. When the Nazis were out.