Alexis Tsipras
Greece's prime minister-elect Alexis Tsipras greets supporters in Athens after Syriza won electionsReuters

The future of the Greek economy and its place in the eurozone are back in the headlines. Greece is the only country in Europe where the minimum wage has decreased since 2008, according to the European Union (EU)'s statistics agency, Eurostat.

The embattled country stands out as the exception: while all the countries of the EU increased their minimum wage since the financial crisis, Greece's fell. Expressed in national currency, the minimum wage fell between 2008 and 2015 by 14%.

After eliminating the differences in price levels, the decline was 12%, statistics published on 26 February revealed. The revelations come as the debate surrounding minimum wage has been revived in Europe.

Eurozone finance ministers agreed in principle on 20 February to extend heavily indebted Greece's financial rescue by four months, averting a potential cash crunch in March that could have forced the country out of the currency area.

The agreement has ended weeks of uncertainty over the fate of Greece, since the election of Syriza – the radical left-wing, anti-austerity political party, which pledged to reverse austerity measures.

The incoming government of Alexis Tsipras has promised it will increase Greece's minimum wage by 10% to about €750 (£545, $840) per month - the level reached before it was reduced to €680 under the pressure exerted by Greece's euro zone creditors.

However, a number of Eurozone financial ministers are against the planned move, accusing Greece of having a higher minimum wage than countries receiving no financial assistance.

Large increases elsewhere

Meanwhile, other European countries have observed an opposite process, with Romania (+95%), Bulgaria (+64% ), Slovakia (+58%) and Latvia (+57%) - countries where the monthly salary minimum is less than €400 - enjoying the largest increases over the same period.

However, Bulgaria remains the country with the lowest minimum wage within the EU (€184), alongside nine other states offering a minimum wage of less than €500: Romania, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, Estonia, Croatia and Poland. In contrast, Luxembourg offers a minimum wage of €1,923, or a ratio of one to 10.

Overall, after adjusting the prices for purchasing power disparities, the gap between member states is reduced to one to four, Eurostat figures revealed.

Six EU member states (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, Finland and Sweden) do not apply the minimum wage.