Greece. According to
CountryAAH, Greece's conservative government struggled during the
year to push the budget deficit below 3% of GDP to avoid
sanctions under the EU Stability and Growth Pact. The
European Commission announced in November that the budget
deficit appeared to end at 2.6% in 2006 and 2.4% in 2007,
giving G's Prime Minister Kostas Karamanli a little respite.
In April, the European Commission notified Greece to the
European Court of Justice for failing to obey a September
2005 decision to recover unauthorized state grants of EUR
540 million to crisis-hit airline Olympic Airways and its
successor Olympia Airlines.
A series of strikes and protests were carried out against
the austerity measures during the year. Despite the
discontent and unrest in the labor market, the ruling party
New Democracy (ND) held the positions in local and regional
elections in October. The party won the mayor posts in
Athens and Thessaloniki. The Socialist Party PASOK took home
the port cities of Patras and Piraeus. Karamanlis reformed
the government on February 14. Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis
became new Foreign Minister. The government transformation
was preceded by the disclosure that Karamanlis and about 100
other high government officials and journalists' mobile
phones had been intercepted during June 2004 to March 2005.
The motive was unclear, but the interception seems to have
been most intense during the Athens 2004 Olympics.
Russia, Bulgaria and Greece agreed in September to build an
oil pipeline between the Black Sea and the Aegean. The plan
has been discussed for 13 years and made public when the
Presidents of Russia and Bulgaria visited G.
Violent crows shook Athens on April 25 when US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice met his Greek counterpart. Police
attack tear gas against protesters who threw stones and
gasoline bombs. At least ten people were injured and some 40
were arrested on November 17, when thousands of protesters
marked the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising against
the then military junta.
A Greek pilot was killed on May 23 when a Greek and a
Turkish fighter plane collided over the Aegean Sea. Both
countries were restrained in their initial reactions.
At the end of November, Greece's Supreme Court announced that
the trial against the Swede Calle Jonsson must be resumed.
He had previously been released from the charge of attempted
murder on Kos Island in 2001.