Country report Greece - Work Package 1 Ex post evaluation of Cohesion Policy programmes 2007-2013, focusing on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF)
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In Greece, the 2007-2013 programming period coincided with a prolonged and deep recession, triggered by the global economic and financial crisis which laid bare the long-term structural deficiencies of the economy. Between 2007 and 2013, GDP declined by 26% in real terms and while the recession came to an end in 2014, growth over the two years was less than 1%. The employment rate which was already relatively low, fell from 66% of the population aged 20-64 in 2007 to 53% in 2013, implying that only just over half of people of working age were employed. Unemployment increased from 8.4% of the labour force to 27.5% over the same period.
The public sector financial balance which was already in significant deficit in 2007 deteriorated further as GDP collapsed. In 2009, the deficit rose to 15% of GDP and despite the austerity measures imposed by financial institutions in return for lending, it was still 13% of GDP in 2013. Consolidated public debt, already large before the crisis, increased to 178% of GDP in 2013 and was much the same in 2015. Public investment relative to GDP was halved between 2007 and 2013 and though there was some increase in the subsequent two years, in 2015, it was only just over 50% of the level in 2006 in real terms.
All regions suffered in much the same way from the crisis, GDP per head falling precipitously in all of them and regional disparities in these terms remaining much the same. The same was true of employment, the proportion of 20-64 year-olds in work declining by 11 percentage points in each between 2007 and 2015.
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