Greece the Hellenic Republic, self-identified and known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of 11 million as of 2016. Athens is largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, Turkey to the northeast; the Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a large number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres; the country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and the Ionian Islands.
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and notably the Olympic Games. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, in which Greek language and culture were dominant. Rooted in the first century A. D. the Greek Orthodox Church helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence.
Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The sovereign state of Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, a high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001, it is a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Greece's unique cultural heritage, large tourism industry, prominent shipping sector and geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power, it is the largest economy in the Balkans. The names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The Greek name of the country is Hellas or Ellada, its official name is the Hellenic Republic. In English, the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia and means'the land of the Greeks'; the earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, in the Greek province of Macedonia. All three stages of the stone age are represented for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the Near East to Europe. Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC, the Minoan civilization in Crete, the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland; these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek.
The Mycenaeans absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. This ushered from which written records are absent. Though the unearthed Linear B texts are too fragmentary for the reconstruction of the political landscape and can't support the existence of a larger state contemporary Hittite and Egyptian records suggest the presence of a single state under a "Great King" based in mainland Greece; the end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to the year of the first Olympic Games. The Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, which spread to the shores of the Black Sea, So
There are eight euro coin denominations, ranging from one cent to two euros. The coins first came into use in 2002, they have a common reverse, portraying a map of Europe, but each country in the eurozone has its own design on the obverse, which means that each coin has a variety of different designs in circulation at once. Four European microstates which use the euro as their currency have the right to mint coins with their own designs on the obverse side; the coins, various commemorative coins, are minted at numerous national mints across the European Union to strict national quotas. Obverse designs are chosen nationally, while the reverse and the currency as a whole is managed by the European Central Bank; the euro came into existence on 1 January 1999. It had been a goal of its predecessors since the 1960s; the Maastricht Treaty entered into force in 1993 with the goal of creating economic and monetary union by 1999 for all EU states except the UK and Denmark. In 1999 the currency was born and in 2002 notes and coins began to circulate.
It replaced the former national currencies and the eurozone has since expanded further to some newer EU states. In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty formalised its political authority, the Eurogroup, alongside the European Central Bank. In 2004 €2 commemorative coins were allowed to be minted in six states. By 2007, all states but France and the Netherlands had minted a commemorative issue and the first eurozone-wide commemorative coin was issued to celebrate 50 years of the Treaty of Rome. In 2009, the second eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating ten years of the Economic and Monetary Union. In 2012, the third eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating 10 years of euro coins and notes. To date, only Cyprus has not independently issued a €2 commemorative coin; as the EU's membership has since expanded in 2004, 2007 and 2013, with further expansions envisaged, the common face of all euro coins from the value of 10c and above were redesigned in 2007 to show a new map.
Slovenia joined the eurozone in 2007, Cyprus and Malta joined in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015, introducing seven more national-side designs. Andorra started minting coins in 2014, so from 2015 there are 23 countries with their own national sides. There are eight different denominations of euro coins: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2; the 1c, 2c and 5c coins show Europe in relation to Africa in the world. The remaining coins show the EU before its enlargement in May 2004 if minted before 1 January 2007, or a geographical map of Europe if minted after. Coins from Italy, San Marino, the Vatican City and Portugal show the geographical map if minted in 2008 or later; the common side was designed by Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian Mint. They symbolise the unity of the EU; the national sides were designed by the NCBs of the eurozone in separate competitions. There are specifications. National designs were not allowed to change until the end of 2008, unless a monarch dies or abdicates.
National designs have seen some changes due to a new rule stating that national designs should include the name of the issuing country. The common side of the 1c, 2c and 5c coins depict the denomination, the words'EURO CENT' beside it, twelve stars and Europe highlighted on a globe in relation to Asia and Africa in the world; the common side of the 10c, 20c and 50c coins depict the denomination on the right, the words'EURO CENT' underneath it, with twelve stars and the European continent on the left. Coins minted from 1999 to 2006 depicted only the EU15, rather than the entire European continent, on coins minted after 2007; the common side of the €1 and €2 coins depict the denomination on the left, the currency, map of Europe and twelve stars on the right. Coins minted from 1999 to 2006 depicted the EU15, rather than the whole European continent, on coins minted from 2007. All coins have a common reverse side showing how much the coin is worth, with a design by Belgian designer Luc Luycx; the design of the 1c, 2c and 5c coins shows Europe's place in the world as a whole.
The 10c coins and above show either the 15 countries that were the European Union in 2002, or, if minted after 2007, the whole European continent. Coins from Italy, San Marino, the Vatican and Portugal show the new design if minted 2008 or later; the coins symbolise the unity of the EU. On 7 June 2005, the European Council decided that the common side of the 10c to €2 coins should be brought up to date to reflect the enlargement of the EU in 2004; the 1c, 2c and 5c coins show Europe in relation to the rest of the world, therefore they remained unchanged. In 2007, the new design was introduced; the design still retains all elements of the original designs, including the twelve stars, but the map of the fifteen states is replaced by one showing the whole of Europe as a continent, without borders, to stress unity. These coins were not mandatory for existing eurozone members when introduced in 2007, but became so for every member in 2008. Cyprus is shown several hundred kilometres north west of its real position in order to include it on the map.
On the €1 and €2 coins, the island is shown to be directly east of mainland Greece. The original proposal from the European Commission was to include Turkey on the map, but this design was rejected by the Council; the original designs of the 10c, 20c and 50c coins showed the ou
Paphos is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. In antiquity, two locations were called Paphos: Old Paphos, today at Kouklia, New Paphos; the current city of Paphos lies on the Mediterranean coast, about 50 km west of Limassol, which has an A6 highway connection. Paphos International Airport is the country's second-largest airport; the city has a subtropical-Mediterranean climate, with the mildest temperatures on the island. Paphos is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of the world's heritage for its spectacular ancient remains, was selected as a European Capital of Culture for 2017, along with Aarhus. In the founding myth the town's name is linked to the god, Renos my G, as the eponymous Paphos was the son of Pygmalion whose ivory cult image of Aphrodite was brought to life by the goddess as "milk-white" Galatea; the author of Bibliotheke, the Hellenistic encyclopedia of myth long attributed to Apollodorus, gives the genealogy.
Pygmalion was so devoted to the cult of Aphrodite that he removed the statue to his palace and kept it on his couch. The daimon of the goddess entered into the statue, the living Galatea bore Pygmalion a son, a daughter, Metharme. Cinyras the son of Paphus, but the successful suitor of Metharme, founded the city under the patronage of Aphrodite and built the great temple to the goddess there. According to another legend preserved by Strabo, whose text, varies, it was founded by the Amazons. Old Paphos, now the site of Kouklia is on a hill a few miles from the sea, it was not far from the mouth of the Bocarus stream. Archaeology shows, it was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite's mythical birthplace was on the island; the founding myth is interwoven with the goddess at every level, so that Old Paphos became the most famous and important place for worshipping Aphrodite in the ancient world. The Greek names of two ancient kings and Akestor, are attested in Cypriot syllabary on objects of seventh century BC found in Kourion.
See Sanctuary of Aphrodite PaphiaThe Greeks agreed that Aphrodite had landed at the site of Paphos when she rose from the sea. According to Pausanias, her worship was introduced to Paphos from Syria. Before it was proved by archaeology it was understood that the cult of Aphrodite had been established before the time of Homer, as the grove and altar of Aphrodite at Paphos are mentioned in the Odyssey. Archaeology has established that Cypriots venerated a fertility goddess before the arrival of the Greeks, in a cult that combined Aegean and eastern mainland aspects. Female figurines and charms found in the immediate vicinity date as far back as the early third millennium; the temenos was well established before the first structures were erected in the Late Bronze Age: "There was unbroken continuity of cult from that time until 391 AD when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I outlawed all pagan religions and the sanctuary fell into the ruins in which we find it today."Here the worship of the goddess was centred, not for Cyprus alone, but for the whole Aegean world.
The Cinyradae, or descendants of Cinyras, were the chief priests, Greek by name but of Phoenician origin. Their power and authority were great. There was an oracle here. Few cities have been so much sung and glorified by the poets; the remains of the vast sanctuary of Aphrodite are still discernible, its circumference marked by huge foundation walls. After its destruction by an earthquake it was rebuilt by Vespasian, on whose coins it is represented, as well as on earlier and ones, in the style on those of Septimius Severus. From these representations, from the existing remains, Gustav Friedrich Hetsch, an architect of Copenhagen, has attempted to restore the building. Nea Paphos was founded on the sea near a good natural harbour, it lay about 60 12 km northwest of the old city. It, had a founding myth: it was said to have been founded by Agapenor, chief of the Arcadians at the siege of Troy, after the capture of that town, was driven by the storm that separated the Greek fleet, onto the coast of Cyprus.
An Agapenor was mentioned as king of the Paphians in a Greek distich preserved in the Analecta. In reality it was founded by Nicocles, the last king of Palaepaphos, based on an inscription recording his founding of the temple of Artemis Agrotera at Nea Paphos; the inhabitants of Marion were also transferred to this new city after its destruction in 312 BC by Ptolemy. A hoard of unused silver coins found under the Hellenistic House and dating to the end of the 4th c. BC are the earliest find at the site and indicate its founding date. Palaepaphos always retained the pre-eminence in worship of Aphrodite, Strabo tells that the road leading to it from Nea Paphos was annually crowded with male and female votaries resorting to the ancient shrine, coming not only from the latter place itself, but from the other towns of Cyprus; when Seneca says that Paphos was nearly destroyed by an earthquake, it is difficult
The pound known as the lira, was the currency of Cyprus, including the Sovereign Base Areas in Akrotiri and Dhekelia, until 31 December 2007, when the Republic of Cyprus adopted the euro. However, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus used and still uses on the official level the Turkish lira; the Cypriot pound was replaced by the euro as official currency of the Republic of Cyprus on 1 January 2008 at the irrevocable fixed exchange rate of CYP 0.585274 per EUR 1.00. The British introduced the pound sterling unit to Cyprus in 1879 at a rate of one pound to 180 Turkish piastres, it remained equal in value to the pound sterling until 1972, some twelve years after Cyprus gained independence from the United Kingdom. The Cyprus pound was divided into 20 shillings, in common with its United Kingdom counterpart. However, unlike the United Kingdom shilling, the Cyprus shilling was divided into 9 piastres, thus establishing a nomenclature link to earlier Ottoman currency; the piastre was itself divided into 40 para.
The para denomination was used on postage stamps. However, the 1⁄4-piastre coin was equal to 10 para and called δεκάρα in Greek and the 1⁄2-piastre coin was equal to 20 para and called εικοσάρα; the introduction of the British currency into Cyprus was controversial from its inception in 1879 as technically the island remained a province of the Ottoman Empire and the right to issue currency within the Ottoman Empire rested with the Ottoman Sultan. A question on the legality of introducing the pound in Cyprus was raised by the British Member of Parliament, Mr. Thomson Hankey in the United Kingdom parliament in 1879, but concerns were dismissed by the British government, they ceased to be an issue on the island following its full annexation by Britain in 1914. In 1955, a decision was made by the British colonial authorities to decimalise the Cypriot pound, in this they used the system proposed by William Brown, a member of the United Kingdom parliament, who suggested in 1855 that the pound sterling in the United Kingdom should be divided into one-thousand parts, each called a mil.
Although this system was never adopted in the United Kingdom, it was used in several British colonies, including Hong Kong from 1863 to 1866. This latter example may have been the impetus to use a pound-mil system in Cyprus as the Palestinian pound was for a brief period accepted as legal tender in Cyprus. Cyprus decimalized in 1955 with 1,000 mils to the pound. Colloquially, the 5-mil coin was known as a "piastre" and the 50-mil coin as a "shilling"; the subdivision was changed to 100 cents to the pound on 3 October 1983. At that time, the smallest coin still in circulation was that of 5 mils; this soon was abolished. Mil-denominated coins are no longer legal tender. Towards the end of the Cypriot pound era, some cashiers omitted the 1- and 2-cent coins from the change they gave. Owner-operated businesses rounded down the net amount to be paid to the nearest multiple of 5 cents; the Cypriot national currency was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2008. The currency entered the Exchange Rate Mechanism II on 2 May 2005 and it was limited within the band of CYP 0.585274 ±15% per euro.
A formal application to adopt the euro was submitted on 13 February 2007. On May 16, 2007, along with Malta, received the European Commission's approval for this and was confirmed by the European Parliament on 20 June 2007 and the EU leaders on 21 June 2007; the permanent exchange rate, EUR 1.00 = CYP 0.585274, was decided by the EU Finance Ministers on 10 July 2007. From 12 July 2007 to 5 December 2007, the exchange rate remained at 0.5842. Since 7 December 2007, the rate has been fixed at the irrevocable rate, € = £0.585274. In summer 2006, the Bank of Cyprus started including on its statements the indicative balance in euros; the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority followed suit with its bills two months later. A small number of shops showed indicative euro totals on their receipts. By late autumn 2006, the number of banks and shops offering indicative euro equivalents on their statements and pricing had increased significantly; the Cypriot pound was replaced by the euro as official currency of the Republic of Cyprus on 1 January 2008 at the irrevocable fixed exchange rate of CYP 0.585274 per €1.
However, pound banknotes and coins continued to have legal tender status and were accepted for cash payments until 31 January 2008. Cypriot pounds were convertible free of charge at Cypriot credit institutions until 30 June 2008. CYP coins were convertible at the Central Bank of Cyprus until 31 December 2009 and CYP banknotes were convertible until 31 December 2017. For a wider history surrounding currency in the region, see The History of British Currency in the Middle East. In 1879, copper coins were introduced in denominations of 1⁄4, 1⁄2, 1 piastre; the Greek-Cypriots called the first of these coins the δεκάρα, referring to its equivalence to 10 para. The Greek name for the 1⁄2-piastre coin was εικοσάρα; these coins were followed, in 1901, by silver 3, 4 1⁄2, 9 and 18 piastres, the last two being equal to 1 and 2 shillings. The 3 piastres was only issued that year; the 1⁄4 piastre was last struck in 1926. In 1934, scalloped-shaped 1⁄2 and 1 piastre coins were introduced struck in cupro-nickel, changing to bronze in 1942.
In 1947, cupro-nickel 1 and 2 shil
European Central Bank
The European Central Bank is the central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy within the Eurozone, which comprises 19 member states of the European Union and is one of the largest monetary areas in the world. Established by the Treaty of Amsterdam, the ECB is one of the world's most important central banks and serves as one of seven institutions of the European Union, being enshrined in the Treaty on European Union; the bank's capital stock is owned by all 28 central banks of each EU member state. The current President of the ECB is Mario Draghi. Headquartered in Frankfurt, the bank occupied the Eurotower prior to the construction of its new seat; the primary objective of the ECB, mandated in Article 2 of the Statute of the ECB, is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone. Its basic tasks, set out in Article 3 of the Statute, are to set and implement the monetary policy for the Eurozone, to conduct foreign exchange operations, to take care of the foreign reserves of the European System of Central Banks and operation of the financial market infrastructure under the TARGET2 payments system and the technical platform for settlement of securities in Europe.
The ECB has, under Article 16 of its Statute, the exclusive right to authorise the issuance of euro banknotes. Member states can issue euro coins; the ECB is governed by European law directly, but its set-up resembles that of a corporation in the sense that the ECB has shareholders and stock capital. Its capital is €11 billion held by the national central banks of the member states as shareholders; the initial capital allocation key was determined in 1998 on the basis of the states' population and GDP, but the capital key has been adjusted. Shares in the ECB can not be used as collateral; the European Central Bank is the de facto successor of the European Monetary Institute. The EMI was established at the start of the second stage of the EU's Economic and Monetary Union to handle the transitional issues of states adopting the euro and prepare for the creation of the ECB and European System of Central Banks; the EMI itself took over from the earlier European Monetary Co-operation Fund. The ECB formally replaced the EMI on 1 June 1998 by virtue of the Treaty on European Union, however it did not exercise its full powers until the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999, signalling the third stage of EMU.
The bank was the final institution needed for EMU, as outlined by the EMU reports of Pierre Werner and President Jacques Delors. It was established on 1 June 1998; the first President of the Bank was Wim Duisenberg, the former president of the Dutch central bank and the European Monetary Institute. While Duisenberg had been the head of the EMI just before the ECB came into existence, the French government wanted Jean-Claude Trichet, former head of the French central bank, to be the ECB's first president; the French argued. This was opposed by the German and Belgian governments who saw Duisenberg as a guarantor of a strong euro. Tensions were abated by a gentleman's agreement in which Duisenberg would stand down before the end of his mandate, to be replaced by Trichet. Trichet replaced Duisenberg as President in November 2003. There had been tension over the ECB's Executive Board, with the United Kingdom demanding a seat though it had not joined the Single Currency. Under pressure from France, three seats were assigned to the largest members, France and Italy.
Despite such a system of appointment the board asserted its independence early on in resisting calls for interest rates and future candidates to it. When the ECB was created, it covered a Eurozone of eleven members. Since Greece joined in January 2001, Slovenia in January 2007, Cyprus and Malta in January 2008, Slovakia in January 2009, Estonia in January 2011, Latvia in January 2014 and Lithuania in January 2015, enlarging the bank's scope and the membership of its Governing Council. On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, ECB according to the article 13 of TEU, gained official status of an EU institution. In September 2011, when German appointee to the Governing Council and Executive board, Jürgen Stark, resigned in protest of the ECB's "Securities Market Programme" which involved the purchase of sovereign bonds by the ECB, a move, up until considered as prohibited by the EU Treaty; the Financial Times Deutschland referred to this episode as "the end of the ECB as we know it" referring to its perceived "hawkish" stance on inflation and its historical Bundesbank influence.
On 1 November 2011, Mario Draghi replaced Jean-Claude Trichet as President of the ECB. In April 2011, the ECB raised interest rates for the first time since 2008 from 1% to 1.25%, with a further increase to 1.50% in July 2011. However, in 2012–2013 the ECB lowered interest rates to encourage economic growth, reaching the low 0.25% in November 2013. Soon after the rates were cut to 0.15% on 4 September 2014 the central bank reduced the rates by two thirds from 0.15% to 0.05%, the lowest rates on record. In November 2014, the bank moved into its new premises; the primary objective of the European Central Bank, set out in Article 127 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone. The Governing Council in October 1998 defined price stability as inflation of under 2%, “a year-on-year increase in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices for the euro area of below 2
Stability and Growth Pact
The Stability and Growth Pact is an agreement, among the 28 member states of the European Union, to facilitate and maintain the stability of the Economic and Monetary Union. Based on Articles 121 and 126 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, it consists of fiscal monitoring of members by the European Commission and the Council of Ministers, the issuing of a yearly recommendation for policy actions to ensure a full compliance with the SGP in the medium-term. If a Member State breaches the SGP's outlined maximum limit for government deficit and debt, the surveillance and request for corrective action will intensify through the declaration of an Excessive Deficit Procedure; the pact was outlined by a resolution and two council regulations in July 1997. The first regulation "on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies", known as the "preventive arm", entered into force 1 July 1998; the second regulation "on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure", known as the "dissuasive arm", entered into force 1 January 1999.
The purpose of the pact was to ensure that fiscal discipline would be maintained and enforced in the EMU. All EU member states are automatically members of both the EMU and the SGP, as this is defined by paragraphs in the EU Treaty itself; the fiscal discipline is ensured by the SGP by requiring each Member State, to implement a fiscal policy aiming for the country to stay within the limits on government deficit and debt. As outlined by the "preventive arm" regulation, all EU member states are each year obliged to submit a SGP compliance report for the scrutiny and evaluation of the European Commission and the Council of Ministers, that will present the country's expected fiscal development for the current and subsequent three years; these reports are called "stability programmes" for eurozone Member States and "convergence programmes" for non-eurozone Member States, but despite having different titles they are identical in regards of the content. After the reform of the SGP in 2005, these programmes have included the Medium-Term budgetary Objectives, being individually calculated for each Member State as the medium-term sustainable average-limit for the country's structural deficit, the Member State is obliged to outline the measures it intends to implement to attain its MTO.
If the EU Member State does not comply with both the deficit limit and the debt limit, a so-called "Excessive Deficit Procedure" is initiated along with a deadline to comply, which includes and outlines an "adjustment path towards reaching the MTO". This procedure is outlined by the "dissuasive arm" regulation; the SGP was proposed by German finance minister Theo Waigel in the mid-1990s. Germany had long maintained a low-inflation policy, an important part of the German economy's strong performance since the 1950s; the German government hoped to ensure the continuation of that policy through the SGP, which would ensure the prevalence of fiscal responsibility, limit the ability of governments to exert inflationary pressures on the European economy. As such, it was described to be a key tool for the Member States adopting the euro, to ensure that they did not only meet the Maastricht convergence criteria at the time of adopting the euro, but kept on to comply with the fiscal criteria for the following years.
The Pact has been criticised by some as being insufficiently flexible and needing to be applied over the economic cycle rather than in any one year. They fear that by limiting governments' abilities to spend during economic slumps it may hamper growth. In contrast, other critics think; this is amply evidenced by the “creative accounting” gimmickry used by many countries to achieve the required deficit to GDP ratio of 3 percent, by the immediate abandonment of fiscal prudence by some countries as soon as they were included in the euro club. The Stability Pact has been watered down at the request of Germany and France."Some remark that it has been applied inconsistently: the Council of Ministers failed to apply sanctions against France and Germany, while punitive proceedings were started when dealing with Portugal and Greece. In 2002 the European Commission President Romano Prodi described it as "stupid", but was still required by the Treaty to seek to apply its provisions; the Pact has proved to be unenforceable against big countries such as France and Germany, which were its strongest promoters when it was created.
These countries have run "excessive" deficits under the Pact definition for some years. The reasons that larger countries have not been punished include their influence and large number of votes on the Council of Ministers, which must approve sanctions; the Pact was further weakened in 2005 to waive Germany's violations. In March 2005
The mouflon is a subspecies group of the wild sheep. Populations of O. orientalis can be partitioned into the mouflons and the urials. The mouflon is thought to be the ancestor for all modern domestic sheep breeds; the wild sheep of Corsica were locally called mufra. The French naturalist Buffon rendered this in French as moufflon. Mouflon sheep have reddish to dark brown, short-haired coats with dark back stripes and black ventral areas and light-colored saddle patches; the males are horned. The horns of mature rams are curved in one full revolution. Mouflon have shoulder heights around 0.9 body weights of 50 kg and 35 kg. Today, mouflon inhabit the Caucasus, Anatolia and eastern Iraq, most parts of Iran and Armenia; the range stretched further to the Crimean peninsula and the Balkans, where they had disappeared 3,000 years ago and came back to Bulgaria. Mouflon were introduced to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Cyprus during the neolithic period as feral domesticated animals, where they have naturalized in the mountainous interiors of these islands over the past few thousand years, giving rise to the subspecies known as European mouflon.
On the island of Cyprus, the mouflon or agrino became a different and endemic subspecies known as the Cyprus mouflon. The Cyprus mouflon population contains only about 3,000 animals, they are now rare on the islands, but are classified as feral animals by the IUCN. They were successfully introduced into continental Europe, including Portugal, France, central Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, the Canary Islands, some northern European countries such as Denmark and Finland. A small colony exists in the remote Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean, on the Veliki Brijun Island in the Brijuni Archipelago of the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. In South America, mouflon have been introduced into central Argentina. Since the 1980s, they have been introduced to game ranches in North America for the purpose of hunting. Mouflon have been introduced as game animals into Spieden Island in Washington state, into the Hawaiian islands of Lanai and Hawaii where they have become a problematic invasive species.
A small population escaped from an animal enclosure owned by Thomas Watson, Jr. on the island of North Haven, Maine in the 1990s and still survives there. Their normal habitats are steep mountainous woods near tree lines. In winter, they migrate to lower altitudes; the scientific classification of the mouflon is disputed. Five subspecies of mouflon are distinguished by MSW3: Armenian mouflon, Ovis orientalis gmelini, northwestern Iran and Azerbaijan, it has been introduced in Texas, US. European mouflon, O. o. musimon was introduced about 7,000 years ago in Corsica and Sardinia for the first time. It has since been introduced in many parts of Europe. Cyprus mouflon, Ovis gmelini ophion called agrino, was nearly extirpated during the 20th century. In 1997, about 1,200 of this subspecies were counted; the television show Born to Explore with Richard Wiese reported. Esfahan mouflon, O. o. isphahanica, is from Iran. Laristan mouflon, O. o. laristanica, is a small subspecies. The eastern and the European mouflon appear in scientific literature as separate species, Ovis musimon and Ovis orientalis.
The mouflons are sometimes treated as a subspecies of the domestic sheep, Ovis aries, named with the same subspecific epithet as above: O. a. musimon, O. a. ophion, etc. Based on comparison of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences, three groups of sheep have been identified: Pachyceriforms of Siberia and North America, Argaliforms of Central Asia, Moufloniforms of Eurasia. However, a comparison of the mitochondrial DNA control region found that two subspecies of urial, Ovis vignei arkal and O. v./o. bochariensis, grouped with two different clades of argali. The ancestral sheep is presumed to have had 60 chromosomes, as in goats. Mouflon and domestic sheep have 54 chromosomes, with three pairs of ancestral acrocentric chromosomes joined to form bi-armed chromosomes; this is in contrast to the urial, which have 56 and 58 chromosomes respectively. If the urial is as related to the mouflons as mitochondrial DNA indicates two chromosomes would need to have split during its evolution away from the mouflon species.
In the Systema Naturæ, Linnaeus and Gmelin treated the argali as one species. Von Schreiber used the combination Ovis aries musimon as early as 1782. In 1792, Robert Kerr listed the "Corsican argali" as a separate variety of argali, writing I have introduced this variety on the authority of Mr Pennant, who distinguishes between the Argali of Corsica and the Siberian, though the difference seems chiefly in colour.