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Greece

Yearbook 2018

Greece. According to Countryaah.com, the Greek economy is doing better, albeit not well. During the year came reports that, for example, Standard & Poor's in January raised the country's credit rating to B from the former B-. The decision was justified in January with the country's "steadily improving general government finances and its gradually recovering economic outlook". Later, the credit rating was raised to B + with the "probable upgrade" extension. In Bloomberg's so-called misery index, Greece came in fifth place with Turkey - better placed than Venezuela, South Africa, Argentina and Egypt. The misery index measures the sum of a country's unemployment and inflation. The emergency loan rescue program ended in August after a final payment was made in June. Since 2010, € 289 billion has been paid out to the Greeks in emergency loans, but now it is over; the acute debt crisis is over.

2018 Greece

Another gratifying message came in August: Greece's unemployment rate was below 20% for the first time in seven years. In August 2017, it was at 21.7%, now at 19.5%. However, it is still the highest figure in the EU, and youth unemployment continues to be alarmingly high, 40%. The proportion of unemployed women is 25%.

Macedonia's parliament approved an amendment to its constitution in October which means that the Republic of Northern Macedonia can be renamed. The name change ever since Macedonia was founded in 1991 has been a stumbling block and a requirement from Greece to approve its neighbor in the north to apply for membership in the EU and NATO. As a result of the decision, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias resigned in protest; Prime Minister Tsipras then took over the leadership of the Foreign Ministry himself.

More than 90 people were killed in July in what is suspected were fires, including in the city of Mati north of Athens. It is believed that the fires may have been started by criminals who have been out to plunder abandoned homes.

According to statistics for 2017, migrant flows to Greece decreased significantly; only one-sixth was received compared to 2016. The reason is the EU's refugee agreement with Turkey and the fact that migrants sought new ways, to Spain via Morocco and Algeria. During the year, however, reports that the flow of refugees via the country road between Turkey and northwestern Greece increased. In June, 6,800 refugees were reported to have taken that route - comparing to 5,500 in total in 2017. But that does not prevent several tragedies from taking place on the Aegean Sea. In March, for example, at least 16 people, six of them children, drowned when their smuggling boat crashed off the island of Agathonisi south of Samos.

However, the UN Refugee Organization (UNHCR) announced in November that the number of migrants to Greece via the northeast border with Turkey during the year was 11,000, an increase of 40% compared to 2017. Many of these are unaccompanied children and young people.

Another stream that does not decrease, however, is tourism. During the year, over 30 million tourists came to Greece and the Greek island world. That is three times as many as the country's residents. For example, Thera (Santorini) has long been difficult to cope with the tourist storm and has therefore limited the number of cruise ships and visitors to the island.

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