The entry of Greece into the Eurozone opened the economy to more lucrative opportunities. It was a testament to how stable and promising the economy of the country was. The country has been part of the EU for a longer period, becoming a member country in 1981 when it discarded its traditional currency, the drachma, for the Euro which is used to date.
However, the economic fairy tale of the Mediterranean country was short-lived after it entered its darkest economic period in the 2010s. During this period, the economy experienced unprecedented levels of inflation which spiraled out of control into a devastating economic crisis the likes of which Greece had not experienced before. However, the economic crisis notwithstanding, Greece is home to numerous natural resources which make it among the richest nations in the region. Some of these natural resources include prime agricultural land, fishing sites, natural beauty, warm beaches, and minerals.
Greece might not come out as a serious player in the global mining industry, but the country is one of the top producers of some of the most sought-after minerals in the world. Some of the minerals in the country include nickel and bauxite, two minerals which Greece is the leading producer in the European Union. Minerals are some of the country’s chief export items with petroleum products and aluminum being Greece’s primary export goods. Petroleum products alone account for over 38.8% of the country’s total export goods, while aluminum and associated products account for over 4.3% of all annual exports from the country. Almost all of the country’s biggest companies are major players in its mining industry.
Lying in the Mediterranean, the country experiences a climate well-suited for farming. Some of the most important crops produced in the country include grapes, olives, tobacco, and several types of grain including corn, wheat, and barley. Another major agricultural produce from Greece is cotton with the country being the sole producer of the agricultural item in the European Union. However, the agricultural output of the country is hindered by natural hurdles such as unproductive soils and low rainfall, as well as artificial hindrances such as unsustainable farming methods. About one-third of the country’s land is suitable for cultivation. The other two-thirds consist of forests and scrubs where cultivation is less favorable. Entering into the Eurozone greatly benefitted the agricultural industry of the country as it opened up the lucrative European market for Greece’s agricultural products. Another perk which came with the membership of the Eurozone were EU subsidies which also helped grow the country’s agricultural sector.
While forests make up about one-fifth of the country’s area, forest products are insignificant in the country’s economy. In the southwestern region of the country is the Folóï oak forest, which lies within the Foloi municipal and it is largely an oak forest. The forest lies at an altitude of 2,257 feet above sea level. The Folio forest ecosystem is unique in the whole of the Balkan region and covers an area of 9,900 acres and it is a dense forest cover made up of almost only deciduous oaks. The Hungarian Oaks (Quercus frainetto) are main species in the forest, which grow to reach between 49 to 66 feet tall and can live to attain 200 years. Some of oaks species found in the forest include downy oak, and the evergreen holm oak/. Other plants in the forest include asphodels ferns. Folóï forest has been designated as a protected area and enlisted by the EU.
Natural Tourist Attractions
Greece has natural and beautiful scenery which is another important natural resource from which the country generates revenue. An example of the tourist attractions found in Greece is the snowy peaks of Mount Verno which is a prime tourist destination for winter sports. The country enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate which makes its coastal attractions among the best in the world. Some of the coastal attractions found in Greece include the beaches in Crete, Zante, Corfu, and Rhodes. The abundance of tourist attractions in Greece makes the country heavily dependent on its tourism industry. To facilitate the growing tourism industry, the government of Greece has invested heavily in marketing its tourist attractions as well as developing the necessary infrastructure. This natural beauty makes Greece a huge tourist magnet attracting millions of visitors. More than 25 million tourists visit the country each year. European tourists make up the bulk of international tourists who visit Greece. Macedonia leads as the largest tourist visiting Greece with the majority of Greece’s international tourists coming from its European neighbors. An estimated 3 million foreign visitors to Greece each year come from Macedonia. Germany, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, and France are the other major origin of tourists to Greece. The United States is the sole non-European country with most tourist to Greece with an estimated 0.75 million tourists coming from the North American country. More than 0.52 million international tourists who visit Greece come from Asia.
The Economic Crisis Of The 21st Century
Despite having numerous natural resources, Greece has experienced one of the worst economic crises in Europe’s history. The economic crisis that Greek experienced in the late 2010s has been unprecedented in the country’s history and can be compared to the infamous Great Depression that crippled the American economy in the early 20th Century. The country’s economic problems had been a concern since the turn of the 21st century, but they came to their worst in 2015 when the seemingly economically stable economy failed to honor a payment to the International Monetary Fund amounting to over $1 billion. This sole incident was worrying not only to the economy of Greece but also globally as it was the first time for a developed economy to miss such a payment, showing that even such stable economies were vulnerable.
Cause Of The Economic Crisis
Some economists pointed out Greece’s decision to enter the Eurozone as the start of the economic problems experienced by the country, but data shows that the economic turbulence started hitting the country way before 2001. Warning signals could be seen from as far back as1980 when the country showed symptoms of an economy with a revenue deficiency. During that year, an estimated 10.3% of the country’s expenditure was used for social expenditure. In contrast, Germany’s social expenditure in 1980 accounted for about 22.1% of the country’s expenditure. The reason behind the revenue deficiency which grappled the Mediterranean country was primarily tax evasion. In the recent past, Greece has been infamous for tax evasion, a problem which has been deeply ingrained in Greek society and, therefore, is difficult to shake off.