Greece Country Report
Heavy bureaucracy, complicated legal requirements, inefficient state mechanisms, and an elevated risk of corruption put Greece among the worst EU performers for ease of doing business, below several Western Balkan countries. Corruption is particularly persistent in the public sector. Trade union resistance and probable patchy implementation are likely to hamper progress on reforms. There is a high risk of strikes affecting public services (including transport), ports, major roads, border crossings, and companies/sectors that are due to be privatised.
Greece has the highest frequency of domestic terrorist attacks in Western Europe, staged by far-left militants and anarchist groups. Over the past few years, several splinter groups have surfaced, using IEDs, drive-by shootings, timed incendiary devices and letter-bombs. Their priority targets include multinational corporations (plans to attack COSCO in 2017), foreign embassies (the French embassy, 2018), financial institutions (Eurobank, 2017), law enforcement (Athens court, 2018), political parties/figures (ex-premier Lucas Papademos, 2017), and the media (Skai TV, 2018). In the past two years, anarchist militant group Rouvikonas has primarily focused on vandalism, attacking a wide range of targets, a trend that is likely to continue.
Organised criminal groups operate in Greece and their operations will continue to focus mainly on drug and human trafficking, smuggling, robberies, theft, counterfeiting, and forgery. The issue of extortion will also remain a problem, with the gangs particularly targeting small businesses, such as shops, cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs. Nonetheless, the law enforcement agencies have cracked down on several groups in the past few years, while intra-regional co-operation, particularly in fighting terrorism and organised crime, has also improved. There has been a slight decrease in recorded serious crime, while petty crimes and theft have increased.
War risks in Greece stem from disagreements over boundary demarcations with Turkey in the Aegean Sea (maritime and air boundaries) and the Cyprus issue. Maritime and aviation disputes, and disagreements over patrolling rights, will pose risks to military ships and to hydrocarbon exploration and other vessels in the eastern Aegean Sea. However, all involved parties are members or candidate countries of the same international and regional organisations (such as the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE), reducing the risk of these disputes evolving into armed confrontations.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Greece is exposed to some natural risks due to its geographical location.
The country is in a highly active seismic zone; in 1999, a powerful earthquake (magnitude 5.9 on the Richter scale) occurred near Athens, killing 150 people. A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck near Kos on July 21, killing two people and injuring more than 100 others. Several older buildings were damaged and thousands of tourists visiting the island were forced to evacuate their hotels. Kos International Airport (KGS) suffered some damage, disrupting operations for several weeks, along with ferry services.
Floods also often strike the country during the spring and winter months.
Forest fires frequently occur in summer months throughout Greece due to high temperatures and dry winds. A state of emergency was declared on the island of Kythira in August 2017 due to wildfires.
Greece has a Mediterranean climate which is regularly tempered in coastal regions by maritime winds. Temperatures can be scorching in the summer (40°C to 45°C). Winters are mild in the south and a bit colder in the northwest (mountainous region). The country receives its highest levels of rainfall in the winter.
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