As the government led by the “radical leftist” SYRIZA continues to claim that Greece’s economy is on the rebound and that the country will exit the memorandums and austerity agreements in August, economic indicators tell a different story.
According to the WSI Minimum Wage Report 2018, the purchasing power of Greece’s statutory minimum wage as of January 1, 2018 has dropped to €3.94 per hour, just two cents higher than Estonia, and below countries such as Croatia, Slovakia, and Romania.
At one time, Greece’s gross (pre-tax and pre-withholding) minimum wage was €876 per month, but during the years of crisis and austerity, this amount has fallen to a gross monthly wage of €586 per month, for full-time work for those over the age of 25, and €510 per month for those under the age of 25.
Of course, in today’s economy in Greece, many are employed on a part-time basis or off the books, and may take home as little as €100 per month. Such individuals are nevertheless not considered to be unemployed, allowing the current SYRIZA-led government to boast about a purported decline in official unemployment to 20 percent, from a crisis high of 28 percent.
As shown by Eurostat’s own data, Greece is the only EU member state where the minimum wage has decreased during the 2008-2018 period.
Furthermore, according to OECD figures, Greece’s real annual minimum wage, in U.S. dollars, came out to $12,368 in 2000, when Greece still used its own domestic currency, the drachma. By 2016, this figure was $11,492.
Yet, pro-EU propaganda in Greece is so strong that there are still many individuals who, if asked about life in Greece under the drachma, will essentially tell you that Greeks lived in caves prior to the introduction of the euro. Sadly, it is this mentality which explains Greece’s current government and the composition of its parliament today.