Greece. According to
Countryaah.com, Greece's strained economy recovered during the
year. But at the beginning of the year it looked bad; In a
new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the
EU's view of the Greek economy was based on "significantly
more optimistic assumptions" than those presented by the
IMF: in 2060, Greece's national debt would be 275% of GDP.
And in March, figures for the fourth quarter of 2016 showed
that GDP fell by 1.1%. But already in the same month, fresh
EU statistics showed that Greece had a government budget
surplus of 2-3% (excluding borrowing costs), and a month
later the figure had risen to 4.2% according to the European
Commission. The Reuters news agency therefore reported that
it was the first time in 21 years that Greece joined plus.
Lenders' claims on Greece were at 0.5% surplus.
Unemployment also fell to 22.5% during the year, which is
the lowest figure in five years. In September 2016, the
figure was record high, 27.9%.
Violent protests broke out in the capital of Athens in
mid-May in connection with the negotiations for new loans to
the country. It was the planned austerity measures (a demand
from the lenders) that got 10,000 people to gather on
Syntagmatorget outside Parliament on the same evening as the
austerity package would be approved. Violent clashes took
place between protesters (gasoline bombs) and police (tear
gas). The package was voted on by a slight margin, 153 of
the 300 members voted for the proposal, which included
reduced pensions and higher taxes from 2019/20. At the
beginning of July, the eurozone finance ministers agreed,
and a payment of € 8.5 billion from the latest emergency
package of 2015 was approved.
In July, the IMF approved yet another aid program for
Greece; this time at € 1.5 billion.
In January, Turkey threatened to terminate the refugee
agreement with Greece. This is unless the eight officers who
fled to Greece in a helicopter after the failed coup attempt
in July 2016 were handed over to Turkey. In the past, a
Greek court has ruled that the military cannot be
surrendered because they would not receive a fair trial in
Turkey. In December, a decision was made to grant one of the
officers asylum, which prompted Turkey to protest so loudly
that the Greek government appealed the court decision.
Two Swedes were sentenced in May to 15 years in prison
for membership in a terrorist organization. They were
arrested in Alexandroupolis near the border with Turkey with
military clothes, knives and money in the pack. According to
Greek authorities, they were on their way to Syria to join
the Islamic State (IS).
An earthquake struck in July in the archipelago of
Dodecanese in the southeastern part of the Aegean Sea, near
Turkey. A Swedish man in his 20s was killed on the tourist
island of Kos in connection with the quake. In addition, two
Swedes and one Norwegian were seriously injured.
Proof that the Greek economy is on the right track was
given in September when the EU removed the country from the
list of countries with a deficit exceeding 3% of GDP.
Remaining on the list are now France, Spain and the UK.
In November, central Greece was hit by heavy rains. The
worst hit was an area a few miles west of the capital,
including the industrial cities of Mandra, Megara and Néa
Péramos, where roads and cars were washed away and homes
flooded. At least 13 people were killed in the storm, which
was described by the Mayor of Mandra, Yianna Krikouki, to be
"by biblical standards".