EU ministers agree to uplift minimum wages
EU ministers on Dec. 6 agreed on measures to better protect wage levels in Europe and give workers more power to oppose low pay.
While the proposal does not set an EU-wide minimum wage, once confirmed it would mark a significant step in promoting the European social model, especially in eastern European countries where salaries are low.
The 27 member states are historically divided on the issue because national pay systems and minimum wages vary widely, from 312 euros ($352) a month in Bulgaria to 2,142 euros ($2,419) in Luxembourg, according to figures published last year.
Some Nordic countries are especially against any change to their collective bargaining system in which companies negotiate pay directly with powerful unions, without state intervention.
"Work should pay," said Slovenian Labor Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, whose country holds the EU's six-month rotating
"We cannot accept that people who put all their energy in their job still live in poverty and cannot afford a decent standard of living," he added.