Twenty-two years after Greece’s joined the EU and began participating in the process and development of the EU architecture, it is generally accepted that accession has brought about many significant changes within the country while also influencing foreign policy.
By joining the European family through its EU accession, Greece moved from the periphery or the semi-periphery to the centre of a system of international economic and political relations. In assessing the positive impact of Greece's accession to the European Community, one has only to recall that the net transfer of financial resources to Greece, even before the 3rd Community Support Framework began to be implemented, exceeded GRD 11-12 trillion.
The country’s participation in the EC/EU has been marked not only by the acceptance of an intensely competitive environment but also the existence of a regulatory framework whose fundamental rules are increasingly determined at a collective level. The manner in which the Greek economy now operates has radically changed, as have relations between Greece and the rest of the world.
After a period lasting approximately 10 years following accession, the Greek economy managed to achieve macroeconomic stability which led to the final stage of EMU, thereby ensuring monetary stability which the Greek economy had never before experienced. After 1996 in particular, Greek efforts to achieve nominal convergence were stepped up, that is, efforts to meet the Maastricht criteria for entry into the monetary core of the Union (low inflation, low fiscal deficits, etc.) and in 2000 Greece became the 12th member of the Euro area. It is worth noting that no other country managed to bridge the gap between its original position and the Maastricht criteria in such a short period of time.
Greece has already covered much of the distance separating it from the rest of the European Union. However, as Prime Minister Costas Simitis warned in a speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September 2002, “much remains to be done in order to ensure a creative path to the future…”. We need a more competitive economy and above all we must acquire greater effectiveness in public administration, education, health and combat unemployment.