Greece - Overview
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The troika (IMF, EU, ECB) has continued to exert pressure on the Greek government and has forced it to reduce labour costs in an effort to increase the country's competitiveness. The conservative government has also amanged to restore public finances and register a surplus. The country's long-term rating has been increased by rating agencies which have seen the economy is returning to equilibrium. Prices begin to fall and consumption bottomed out. However, the debt has continued to rise and has reached historical levels (more than 176% of the GDP) and the privatisation programme and the job reduction plan for the public sector have encountered great difficulties. The government's key objective is still to reduce the budget deficit and the state debt and to improve the business climate in order to sustain economic recovery.
The country is facing a dramatic rise in unemployment, which now affects over a quarter of the workforce and more than 60% of people under the age of 25, as well as a proliferation of general strikes and other social protests against the austerity measures. The social-economic crisis has also been accompanied by a silent environmental crisis.
Thanks to the economic diversification led by the government, industry has replaced agriculture as a second source of income after services, and accounts for around 20% of the GDP. The main sectors are: electronic goods, transport materials, clothing and construction. More specifically, Greece is the largest European ship owner.The tertiary sector accounts for nearly three quarters of the GDP and employs two thirds of the workforce. Tourism provides a vital source of income and alone contributes 11% of the GDP. Marine fishing represents 10% of the GDP.
Foreign trade overview
Structurally in deficit, the trade balance has improved since the beginning of the crisis due to the imports declining more quickly than exports. This trend should become more pronounced in 2014 given the expected resumption in exports, which increased by 2.5% in 2013.
Despite the slight improvement in the country's economic situation, this trend should continue.
In addition to the exceptionally negative economic situation of the country, the high level of corruption and lack of transparency are the two main obstacles to the growth of FDIs.