Year of EU entry: 1981 / Capital city: Athens / Population: 11.1 million
Located near the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Greece forms the southern extremity of the Balkan Peninsula in south-east Europe. Its territory includes more than 2,000 islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas.
Greece is one of the cradles of European civilisation, whose ancient scholars made great advances in philosophy, mathematics and astronomy. Their city-states were pioneers in developing democratic forms of government. The historical and cultural heritage of Greece continues to resonate throughout the modern world - in literature, philosophy or politics.
Greece's main economic sectors are agriculture, tourism, construction and shipping and more than 50% of its industry is located in the Greater Athens area.
The best-known contemporary Greeks include the film-maker Kostas Gavras, the Nobel Prize winner Odysseus Elitis and composer Mikis Theodorakis.