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Domestic Issues
Hard as this is for Americans to understand, other countries have their own internal issues that have nothing to do with the US. Here are some of Greece's issues.
Olympics 2004

Greece got behind on preparations for the Olympics, causing concern internationally, but people are saying things are back on track. The nation hopes this is a huge advertisement for tourism (which struggles after 9/11), but any screwups and it will just reinforce the idea that Greeks can't get organized.

Official site for the Games. (Up 7/6/03)

Demise of November 17th terrorist organization
The trials of November 17th. Here is a real victory in the war on terror. For years the November 17th terrorist organization operated with total impunity in Greece. They killed various "enemies" of the people, or so they thought. No suspects were ever caught, no cases ever solved. Last year, one of the conspirators blew himself up but survived and began confessing. At the same time the Greek government had been making a renewed effort against the group, so with this lead, the government pounced and soon arrested 19 members of the gang. Their trials are ongoing now and the whole movement is completely discredited.
Rationalization of the excessive state sector.
The state sector, and jobs in it, play a key role in the clientalist political system. Jobs are bribes for supporters. The pension system is another flash point with separate pensions for various classes of workers leading to inefficiencies. All this leads to problems attracting international capital, leads to budget deficits and makes modernizing of industry harder. Olympic Airways was crushed by this sort of politicization.
Maturation of Political institutions
[ under construction ]
The Orthodox church and the modern world
While the Greek orthodox church is not exactly the state religion, it does have a special relationship to the nation. In 2003, there was a big row because the government sought to remove the data for religious identity from citizen's identity cards. The church and a large segment of society protested mightily claiming that being orthodox was a key aspect of Greek identity. This did nothing to make the 3% of the population that is not orthodox feel any safer.
Pollution and the environment
[ under construction ]
The Diaspora and the homeland

Greeks have emigrated to many nations - the United States, of course, but also sizable numbers to Australia for example. How do they relate to the nation of Greece? In the United States, Greek-Americans have never been a particularity effective lobby for shifting US foreign policy to be more favorable to Greece, nor have they had much impact on encouraging Greece to take a more global perspective in foreign policy.

Another aspect of this concerns the relation of the Orthodox church in the United States to the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul. Strains exist about how much autonomy this US church should have.


Last updated 3/18/06; content rom 2004; posted 7/6/03;© 2006 John P. Nordin