euro was introduced in 2002. As a preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 2001. However, all Greek euro coins introduced in 2002 have this year on it, unlike some other countries of the Eurozone where mint year is minted in the coin. Eight different designs, one per face value, were selected for the Greek coins. In 2007, in order to adopt the new common map like the rest of the Eurozone countries, Greece changed the common side of their coins. Before adopting the euro in 2002, Greece had maintained use of the Greek drachma from 1832.
In 2009, Greece had the EU's second-lowest Index of Economic Freedom (after Poland), ranking 81st in the world. The country suffers from high levels of political and economic corruption and low global competitiveness relative to its EU partners. The Greek economy faces significant problems, including rising unemployment levels and an inefficient government bureaucracy.
Although remaining above the euro area average, economic growth turned negative in 2009 for the first time since 1993. An indication of the trend of over-lending in recent years is the fact that the ratio of loans to savings exceeded 100% during the first half of the year.
Debt crisis (2010–2012)
By the end of 2009, as a result of a combination of international and local factors (respectively, the world financial crisis and uncontrolled government spending), the Greek economy faced its most-severe crisis since the restoration of democracy in 1974 as the Greek government revised its deficit from an estimated 6% to 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP).
In early 2010, it was revealed that successive Greek governments had been found to have consistently and deliberately misreported the country's official economic statistics to keep within the monetary union guidelines. This had enabled Greek governments to spend beyond their means, while hiding the actual deficit from the EU overseers. In