A look at Greece, then and now

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By The Associated Press, Associated Press

Saturday marks the third anniversary of the day Greece revealed its deficit was actually four times the limit set for countries using the euro, rattling markets and sending borrowing costs soaring for European countries considered weak.

Greece's then-finance minister warned it could take three or four years to emerge from the crisis. But even after a huge European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout and billions in budget cuts, the situation in Greece is still dire.

As the 27 European Union leaders meet for yet another summit to try to chart a course out of the financial crisis around the continent, here is a look at where Greece was then — and where it is now.

GROWTH: Greece was already facing bad news before the crisis. Growth had leveled off and gross domestic product had started contracting by 0.2 percent in 2008. It slipped to -3.1 percent a year later.

Last year it crashed further, falling by 7.1 percent. The 2013 draft budget foresees a 3.8 contraction, but the actual figure is expected to be even lower, with the economy shrinking possibly by 4.2.

UNEMPLOYMENT:

The impact on unemployment has been staggering. From 7.7 percent, it has climbed precipitously. In August, it hit 25 percent, or one quarter of the working population — a calamity for countless Greek families.

DEBT:

Government debt already stood at 129.4 percent and ballooned further to 165.3 percent at the close of last year.

Greece managed to talk its creditors into forgiving €105 billion ($137.8 billion) earlier this year, but even so the debt pile will only fall to 120 percent of GDP by the end of the decade. And that's if everything goes as planned.

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