ATHENS – The New Democracy government in Greece has raised the minimum monthly wage to €780 ($847), effective April 1. However, this move has been criticized by the major opposition party SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, who ruled for 4 ½ years before being ousted in the July 2019 snap elections. They had previously kept the minimum wage low under austerity measures tied to international bailout conditions. Political rivals have dismissed this move as an attempt to gain support before the upcoming elections on May 21.
According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis stated that the decision to increase the minimum wage was made after considering the increased needs of workers, and it was a fair decision.
Hatzidakis mentioned that several factors were taken into account, including the decrease in unemployment from 17.5% in 2019 to 10.8% in January this year. Other determinants included competitiveness, which has increased due to investments and exports, as well as the still high inflation rate.
With this raise, Greece moves up to the 10th position among the 27-member European Union. This move comes as the country’s economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and benefits from a tourism rebound and more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“We are not celebrating, but this development shows that Greece has made significant progress, and that effective governance combined with a dynamic economy can lead to even more positive results,” Hatzidakis said of the decision.