Europe’s alarmingly high unemployment rate is the focus of attention in the run-up to the May 2014 European elections, with political parties all setting out their competing strategies for job creation. However, while it’s obviously important to get people working, it’s easy to overlook those in work but nonetheless struggling to live on low incomes with poor job security.

One suggestion we often receive here on Debating Europe is that there should be an EU-wide minimum wage. We’ve had comments along these lines from Maier, Tiago, Pedro, Limbidis and Karen (who even suggested there should be a global minimum wage). And, of course, there have also been plenty of critics, with Simona, for example, arguing that rising minimum wages inevitably leads to higher youth unemployment.

At the moment, minimum wage policies vary enormously across all EU member states. In Sweden and Denmark, for example, there is no national minimum wage, with salaries being agreed by sector through collective bargaining between unions and employers. And among those countries that do pay a minimum wage, the difference in the sums involved is vast; the national minimum wage in Romania is just 190 EUR per month, which is ten times lower than the minimum wage in Luxembourg.

In the run-up to the elections, Europe’s Radical Left have demanded the introduction of an EU target for minimum wages of at least 60% of the average national salary wage. The  Social Democrats are also in favor of granting the EU greater competency over wage policies – though they stop short of a pan-European minimum wage. The  Conservatives, on the other hand, are fiercely opposed to this issue even being discussed at the European level, arguing that the EU should never be allowed to interfere in what is clearly a national issue. Do YOU agree with any of these views? Then don’t forget to support the party you intend to vote for in our Debating Europe Vote 2014!

To get a reaction, we took some of your comments to Traian Ungureanu, a Romanian MEP who sits with the  Centre-Right European People’s Party in the European Parliament. While he was sympathetic to the intentions, he nevertheless made it clear that he thinks a European minimum wage is in no way a realistic proposal:

UngureanuI am in favor of minimum wage policies in each and every EU country. However, a pan-European minimum wage would mean a completely integrated economic Europe, fiscal Europe, banking Europe. This is – for the moment – not a feasible proposition.

The trouble is that Europe’s economies are so different – and national governments (and publics) seem so unreceptive to the idea – that a European minimum wage is likely to be an extremely distant goal at best. According to the treaties, this issue is entirely a national competence and the EU doesn’t have the power to impose a minimum wage on its member states. But should it?

Should the EU have greater competence over minimum wages in Europe? Do you think a pan-European minimum wage could strengthen solidarity between EU Member States and help combat poverty and social exclusion? Or would the EU simply be meddling where it shouldn’t? And are European economies too different for a European minimum wage to be realistic? Post your thoughts in the comments section below, and we will take them to policy makers for their reaction!

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Jeff Hoyle

101 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Jaime Martins

    Yes, EU should set a minimum wage for all Member States. Would be a greater equality, duties, rights and income, more integration, more Europe.

    • avatar

      And lower incomes across western Europe.

      I mean, do you people actually think this kind of thing through? You cannot aggregate wealth at the highest level.

      Plus, the Eurosoviet seems determined to sign any jobs-destroying free trade treaty it sees, which would be incompatible with a minimum wage.

  2. avatar

    Setting a pan-European minimum wage will just create more problems in the EU than solve the ones we already have. Economic differences are still to big between and any citizen can notice when travelling south to north or west to east.

  3. avatar
    George Kodelas

    Each country has different economy and the salaries varying so much that it’s simple impossible.. Can for example Luxembourg(1900+euros minimum wage) France etc. the same minimum wage with Bulgaria(200- euro min.wage) and other european eastern countries have? I don’t think so…

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Let me put it this way to you. If you have a Basic Income ( NOT minimum ), i said BASIC ( aka enough to live decently ) then EVERYONE will get it, you included.
      Seeing in what situation Greece is, your denial is …mindbending.

    • avatar
      Radu Miron

      The EU doesn’t really stand for a purely free market. It places more emphasis on social measures than the US, for example. Minimum wages are just part of the social safety net. They might not me appreciated by employers, but they make sure that people at the bottom are treated decently. Nevertheless, a pan-European minimum wage is impossible on the short and medium terms.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Quoting Milton Friedman!?
      Seriously? The man who said the market is “fine” just before 2008 ?
      Please get informed on how the economy works because you are waaaay off.

      It’s disheartening to see one of my countrymen swallow the neo-liberal dogma so easy.

  4. avatar
    catherine benning

    Yes, but it should be referred to and adhere to the need for ‘a living wage.’ This should have taken place many moons ago. Not left to allow the greed to reduce the European people to beggars. Which denying this need in our society has done.

  5. avatar
    Jasper Elsen

    An european minimum wage would prevent the movement of factories from one nation to another, just so they can make more money. Different minimum wages or the absence of a minimum wage makes for situations like in my country: Meat from Belgium is shiped to Germany for processing in cheap factories, and then it is sent back to Belgium… How ridiculous… How can countries be competitive in this way? It would also prevent the expoitation of workers. Who can live on a few euro per hour?

  6. avatar
    Borislav Sotirov

    There is a decision. Not a minimum wage. It is Initiative for a Basic Income in Europe. Basic income financed by EU budget is the only possible way to solve the problem of inequality in Europe, social tourism, benefit frauds, debt crisis and so on. And yes, that means more federalism.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Agreed. There is an online petition for the EU parliament and comission to take a SERIOUS look into this matter.
      And yes it will mean “more Europe”, so what? Living standards will rise and THAT is what’s important.

    • avatar

      So this basic income will be the same everywhere eh? Why do you fail to see how unworkable that might be?

      Or will it be adjusted to national income level/price index? Then everyone will simply go where the basic income is the highest.

      You’d have to be completely clueless not to see the unmitigated disaster it would be.

    • avatar

      No, Limbidid, across western Europe and NW Europe living standards would decrease. As in order to pay for this nonsensical scheme, these countries themselves cannot do it, so western Europe and NW Europe would have to do it, decreasing our living standard.

      This is why we do not want any of this and to close our borders to job-thieves from the east.

  7. avatar
    Andrius Kairiukstis

    No. Wage depends on many factors and you really need different amount of money, to live well in each EU country. I was worked in Lithuania / Czech Republic / Sweden / Spain / UK and also traveled a lot.
    Minimal wage already set in each country and it match local standards.
    Increasing it in poor countries is a beat to local businesses and economics, since taxes rising too. Decreasing in developed countries? Hmm, definitely not.

  8. avatar
    Olivier Laurent

    Switzerland became the wealthiest country in Europewith the highest salaries without any minimum wage. (finance only accounts for 8% of its GDP)

    Why do you think industries won’t move outside the EU? (well what it remains for that matter…)

    That’s the problem with the EU. You keep trying to “jail” business. It simply doesn’t work.

  9. avatar
    Olivier Laurent

    Switzerland became the wealthiest country in Europewith the highest salaries without any minimum wage. (finance only accounts for 8% of its GDP)

    Why do you think industries won’t move outside the EU? (well what it remains for that matter…)

    That’s the problem with the EU. You keep trying to “jail” business. It simply doesn’t work.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Business MUST be “jailed” because it always tries to corrupt everything.
      And guess what? Switzerland is ALSO considering a “basic income” initiative. In fact THERE it is where it’s started.

      The flawed right-wing vicious “logic” that, in order to create JOBS we must kiss-ass rich ASSHOLES who fatten themselves off our backs even more is pure Thatcherite ,crock!
      What we need is the governments to CLAMP DOWN on low tariffs EU wide that allow cheap imports from SLAVE COUNTRIES to come here.
      We don’t need to “compete with chinese wages”, THEY need to compete with our know-how.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Limbidis Arian
      ‘Business must be jailed’.

      Oh, err, a bit extreme methinks.

  10. avatar
    Paul X

    Yes the living wage is more appropriate because it takes into the account the cost of living of the relevant country

    Unfortunately like all these pipe dreams the flaw is that money doesn’t grow on trees, you pay someone more and somewhere else someone is getting less

    The ideology of some is that big business and corporations will foot the bill, Unfortunately, though looking attractive in principle, in reality wherever the money initially comes from the real cost will eventually filter down to the average taxpayer or consumer in the street…i.e… me

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Well the idea is actually to tax those pesky financial transactions and speculations a tiny bit like i dunno, maybe 0.3%.
      There are SO MANY and they are SO BIG that this alone will fund for the project.
      And if the EU would put its weight on these rich wankers and their corporate machines then we would see some progress done.
      Right now we’re trying what THEY want.

      “Socialism” for the rich and “fiscal responsability” for the poor !

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Shall i remind you the american history of 1930s?
      Shall i remind you WHO paid ( unwillingly of course as always ) for the New Deal?
      Yeah….i’d shut up if i was you, you’re severly out of touch with reality.

  11. avatar
    Pietro De Matteis

    YES! A minimum wage linked to the COST OF LIVING at the local level though. This is one of the proposals that we put forward in our political programme with the European Federalist Party. And I will defend it as a candidate for the #EP2014 with the list: Stand Up for the United States of Europe

    • avatar

      And everyone will move to the country with the highest basic income/minimum wage and then send most of it to their families at home, immediately bankrupting the system.

      Why are people who back this kind of idea so clueless?

    • avatar

      You are correct indeed. Various countries have various prices/expenses tha people must pay im order to live decently. The minimum wages should be correlated with those expenses so that everyone can live decently on in this european “family”.

  12. avatar
    Pietro De Matteis

    YES! A minimum wage linked to the COST OF LIVING at the local level though. This is one of the proposals that we put forward in our political programme with the European Federalist Party. And I will defend it as a candidate for the #EP2014 with the list: Stand Up for the United States of Europe

  13. avatar
    Laszlo Boruzs

    An EU minimum wage is desirable by all real thinkers. It would boost the economy and peoples live standards as well.

  14. avatar
    Jasper Elsen

    An european minimum wage would prevent the movement of factories from one nation to another, just so they can make more money. Different minimum wages or the absence of a minimum wage makes for situations like in my country: Meat from Belgium is shiped to Germany for processing in cheap factories, and then it is sent back to Belgium… How ridiculous… How can countries be competitive in this way? It would also prevent the expoitation of workers. Who can live on a few euro per hour?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Jasper Elsen
      The WTO opposes direct and indirect barriers to trade.

      How can the small and declining EU obviate such steadfast legislation?

  15. avatar
    Borislav Sotirov

    There is a decision. Not a minimum wage. It is Initiative for a Basic Income in Europe. Basic income financed by EU budget is the only possible way to solve the problem of inequality in Europe, social tourism, benefit frauds, debt crisis and so on. And yes, that means more federalism.

  16. avatar
    Tareq Hajaj

    I like the idea, but the gap is still too big between East and West, so it’s not realistic to have a minimum wage any time soon. In Romania for example is just 200 euros/month. How on Earth could you ballance that with the minimum wages of France/UK, more than a thousand euros/month? :)

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      In Romania the *minimum* wage is 200 euros , a BASIC income is not a MINIMUM.
      Furhermore the country is rich and has vast resources, the problem is they are all clogged up at the top ( like in any capitalist country of course … )

  17. avatar
    Henri Erti

    Obviously, Member States would have to set the wage accordingly to the CPI/PPI and PPP. We can’t generalize a similar price-level across different economies with differentiating production & trade characteristics. Therefore, setting a standard in Brussels for others to follow is impossible.

    Furthermore, the discussion about min. wage is always a political one. In terms of economics, increasing demand through higher disposable income and higher wages ignores the fact that with higher wages, labor costs go up. Therefore, the net-effect of higher wages would be in most instances off-set by higher price levels. Plus ca change..

    What would be far more feasible solution is to lower income taxes in order to provide individuals more income to spend, thus stimulate demand. Currently, demand is stimulated artificially through low-interest rates. This is very unsustainable strategy.

    Basic theory about the min. wage shows that wages above the productivity levels result in decreased hiring. Paying somebody more than he/she is capable of producing is poor math, but very good politics. For the EU, it is time to focus on the mathematical part, rather than continue on the shaky road towards political-games.

  18. avatar
    Gatis Gailitis

    Yes but how would that work. Businesses in Baltic states will be sitting themselves to pay wages to everyone. Minimum wage is miserably low. We are talking about at least a 100 percent increase.

  19. avatar
    Sophie Rajto

    I dont believe the solution to the unemployment and poverty crisis in Europe lies in setting minimum wages. The EU should keep focusing on education, work based learning, VET programmes in order to reduce its high youth unemplyment rates. Income inequalities are still high, but focus on employing the unemployed first…

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      No matter how educated or healthy or whatever your workforce is, it is USELESS if it has to leave the country to get a job.
      And jobs here have left due to being able to pay SLAVE WAGES to chinese workers.
      A basic income + harsher EU wide regulations and tariffs are required.

  20. avatar
    Victor S. Popaliciu

    Yes. This is a good ideea and the decision of President Barack Obama in USA will bust the economy becose people will have more money to secure their lifes and this must be a rule in all free democratic world and in our beautiful democracy from European Union.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      If Obama wanted to raise the minimum wage to AT LEAST the same rate of real value as they were in 1970s when their huge downturn commenced, he should have raised it to 44$/ hour.
      THAT is the real value a dollar had in 1970.
      Now he just raised it a bit. Not enough to anger the masters ( corporations ) and enough to appease the masses – which in America are swimming in kool-aid.

  21. avatar
    Pedro Celestino

    A maximum wage would be good too!

    Anyway a minimum European wage would be very good BUT do not lower the wages of those that already earned what they receive!!!

  22. avatar
    Vesselin Alexiev

    I feel like a pan-European minimum wage would make prices in my country skyrocket, while the people wouldn’t be better off than they are at the moment.

  23. avatar
    Paul X

    I love all the calls for a European UBI

    Putting aside the question of where all the money comes from, how will it work? Will there be one level across Europe so those in Bulgaria can live like lords whilst those in the Germany starve?

    Or will the richer countries have higher rate UBI in which case the Bulgarians will use their freedom of movement rights to nip to Germany to collect their UBI and then back home for a life of luxury. I’m sure the difference in rates between rich and poorer countries will easily cover the train fare

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Paul, if you had the patience to actually LOOK at the website of UBI before opening your mouth without thinking ( which you usually do ) then you would see the explanations for “how it should be funded” explained clearly even you could understand them.
      No, no one will “abuse their freedom of movement” to “nip” you anything. ( you deny you are a brit but your language and mannerism give you away )

  24. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Absolutely yes for the eurozone!! Prices are all the same for our clothes bread and milk accross the zone… And so should the minimum wages!!

  25. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    it sounds like a goot idea but it isn’t really…how are you going to implement this, based on the highest minimum wage in the EU or the lowest?

  26. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Sim a Europa devia criar um salário minimo em todos os estados membros seria uma maior igualdades de direitos deveres e de renda a Europa deve olhar para um futuro dos cidadãos da Europa com mais integação europeia aos seus cidadãos

  27. avatar

    No, the idea of a minum wage is not a good one. How is going to be paid? Why do we have to impose additional burden on those already working so hard to make a better leaving? Who’s saying that actually everyone needs to be employed some where? What happend to working for you and your family?Some one bove gave the example of high civilization in Norway and Sweden? Do you know how much taxes are paid for that standard of life? Giving the financial control to someone else doesn’t make my life better; let’s be fair: who’s willing to work like hell, needs to make money as hell; who’s willing to stay home and watch debates on TV, should make 0 money. It’s a choice. If I work and make money, if I want, I can help someone else. Nut I want to be my choice not something imposed by a goverment or pan EU decision.

  28. avatar
    Rui Oliveira

    We should have more carefull to not enter in a populism way. Europe should recover her identity and apllicate the social measures in order to vanish all kind of anti democratics thoughts tha still remains, but of course i agree with the idea, because it would provide more clearly, many social benefits for the families in needs and assecurate a minimum of dignity, in their lives.

  29. avatar
    Edvaldo Dortas Carvalho

    Yes. It would be really good a minimum wage for the Eurozone!
    But let’s see the actual differences…

    in Euros:
    France 1,430.22 – Ireland 1,461.85 – Luxembourg 1,921.03
    Netherlands 1,477.80

    Bulgaria 173.84 – Romania 190.48 – Estonia 355.00 –
    Portugal 565.83 – Poland 405.79 – Spain 752.85

    How will they work these differences?

    If you are in a high minimum wage country, would you accept a downgrade on it?

    Are low minimum wage countries ready for an increase?
    Would be EU financially ready to deal with it?

    • avatar

      We do not accept any downgrade. Better to disband the Euro.

  30. avatar
    Edvaldo Carvalho

    Yes. It would be really good a minimum wage for the Eurozone!
    But let’s see the actual differences…

    in Euros:
    France 1,430.22 – Ireland 1,461.85 – Luxembourg 1,921.03
    Netherlands 1,477.80

    Bulgaria 173.84 – Romania 190.48 – Estonia 355.00 –
    Portugal 565.83 – Poland 405.79 – Spain 752.85

    How will they work these differences?

    If you are in a high minimum wage country, would you accept a downgrade on it?
    Are low minimum wage countries ready for an increase?
    Would be EU financially ready to deal with it?

  31. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    The Universal Basic Income is a very good step in the right direction, i say.
    But why stop there?
    Let’s say this thing gets passed, businesses get regulated and they eventually have to foot said bill. What will happen?
    You THINK they will simply accept it?
    No. No they won’t. They will continue to erode at the laws and regulations just like they have done in the USA. Lobbying, bribing, paying off politicians ( let’s be honest ours aren’t any better than the americans’ )
    And eventually , in, say 20-30 years they will UNDO everything we might accomplish here now.

    So i say let’s take it further. Let’s STRIP them of the ability to undo positive social changes.
    And how do we do that?’s simple, and this might scare a few “free market” fundamentalists here ( btw there is no such thing as a free market ):
    We’ll allow worker cooperative to form and support them with EU funds and allow them a leg up to compete with top-down corporations.
    Think about it ?

    We keep saying we are so proud of our democracy, yet in our very workplace ( 50% of our lives ) we live in a TYRANNY where a BOSS tells us what to do, where to do it, how to do it and more importantly WHERE THE PROFITS GO.
    We cannot stop polluting our planet because the ones making decisions don’t care, they don’t have to live with the consequences of “oil spill X” or “explosion of toxic gas in town Y”. They are far away in the Cayman islands.
    But most importantly – and all of you who have felt like this, are right! – you feel like you are RIPPED OFF !
    That’s because YOU DID!
    Of course you did ! Every day of every hour you are ripped off.
    An employer will never pay you as much as you are worth – NEVER !
    This is a maxim of capitalism, an unwritten rule:
    The employer will NEVER pay you as much as you are worth.
    That is because he has to get from you MORE than he gives you.
    Let me say it again:
    He has to get MORE from you than he GIVES you.
    Do you understand?
    WHO are the real “leeches” ? Yeah….

    And then we got these Thatcherite drones here spewing her insane propaganda which basically goes like this:
    You poor people, want good jobs, with a good income, so in order for me to give you those good jobs i asked the employers what needs to be done.
    And the employer tells us that if he gets more PROFITS then he can expand his business and hire more workers and…..THAT’S THE WAY TO GO !
    Not these pesky regulations about “pollution” ” social security” “minimum wage” etc
    So it makes good sense for me to TAKE from you ( tax you ) and GIVE to the rich ( lowering their taxes ) because they will create more JOBS, which we all want.
    In other words, you are saying to the poor and middle-class:
    “I am going to take your money…and give it to the rich..and this is the BEST THING that can happen to you”
    Yeah….yeah….just like that.
    The fact that the rich bastards SAID it, is no surprise. The fact that so many of poor BELIEVED it and STILL BELIEVE it is scary.
    That’s Thatcher’s philosophy.

  32. avatar
    Paul X

    Limbidis, I think you will find I have looked at UBI, there are several websites on the subject some calling it Universal Basic Income and some Unconditional Basic Income, I assume it is the same even if it’s supporters cannot agree on a name

    A couple of these websites have long lists of FAQ’s but one crucial FAQ I seem unable to locate is “how is it funded”

    I did see mention in the small print on one of the sites about it being funded by savings made from not having all the administration costs of our current tax systems?…that made me smile, I know most tax collecting organisations are bureaucratic beyond belief but I do not see how sacking a load of tax inspectors and collectors is going to free up enough funds to pay everyone in Europe a living benefit? – (Considering the benefit will also go to the very people who have lost their jobs in the Tax department!)

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to recieve some additional cash that I would get irrespective of what I earn, but as I have my feet in what is commonly called the real world, I’m not holding my breath

    Oh and I’ve never denied being a “Brit”, on the contrary I’m 100% British and very proud of it

    You have a nice day and don’t go planning what you are going to spend your UBI on just yet….

  33. avatar
    Daniel Tanahatoe

    Everyone that studied the basics of economics will know that setting a minimum wage will impact the level of employment. While a minimum wage may sound friendly or fair, it usually only helps those who already have jobs that would otherwise pay less, and it is likely to lift the level of unemployment. That is exactly what we do not want to do in Europe. Therefore other initiatives should be pursued to increase decent employment instead of setting an EU wide minimum wage.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Everyone who ACTUALLY STUDIED economics and by the way i AM an economist , i actually WORK in the god damn field knows that this is BULL-CRAP , pardon my french.
      Yes *some* employers WILL fire their workers but not many.
      And the ones that are left will not need so many SOCIAL SERVICES that drain our taxes.

      THINK !
      OUR TAXES fund the social services that should be paid by the HIGHER WAGES given by these corporate fucks !
      WE subsidize corporations!

      I’ll say it again for those thick in the head – WE SUBSIDIZE corporations so they can make PROFITS of our BACKS !

  34. avatar
    Pietro Moroni

    We should start with redistribution and universal welfare state.

    Minimal wage would be just a boomerang.

  35. avatar
    Sergio Aguilar

    I don’t think a equal common minimun wage would make sense but instead setting up a common minimun criteria for setting the minimun wage in each Member State. For instance at least 60% of the average wage in each country.

  36. avatar
    Paul X


    Definition of “nip to” = visit somewhere for just a short time

  37. avatar
    Jon-Scot Burns

    The living costs and economic environments in each member state are too diverse to creat an equal minimum wage. So NO! Leave these levers off economic powers with the national governments.

  38. avatar

    Obviously, there must be a minimum wage, and here is why. Firstly, social exclusion equals to political exclusion, and it is obvious why that is not acceptable anywhere: it simply fosters elitism and Europe is prosperous because of its strong middle class which should be apparent to everyone. Secondly, economic growth and wealth comes from stimulation: not saving which was clearly demonstrated several times in the recent past; this means a minimum wage will enable more people to spend their money thereby stimulating economic growth as crises are in reality to a large extent a product of protectionist psychology. Thirdly, people will have a greater incentive to stay in their countries, although I fully support migration as it is much more beneficial for the receiving country than is popularly believed, which is good as brain-drains are indeed problematic. Fourthly, as the richest continent in the world, we cannot let our people live like third world citizens. Fifthly, morally, it is quite obvious what we should do. Lastly, a minimum wage would help to prevent social dumping within the EU which is obviously important when we have an internal market as companies would not be able to exploit Europeans.

    It is simply a terrible estimation that due to our different economies, this would not be possible as what we are speaking about is a state average according to the purchase power of each state, and not an EU-wide rule that sets a common nominal value which is just the worst statement I have ever heard. Ensuring that all our citizens have a minimum wage according to their own state PPP per capita is completely realistic and doable.

  39. avatar

    @catherine benning
    “In the UK they have removed these absolute rights for workers by stealth. People in our country are being forced into homelessness and starvation by the same government that relies on the people to pay their wages. Most of them, as in the US, are millionaires of one kind or another, still feeding of the hand of the workers to foot their bills.

    The British tax payer is currently footing the bill for international corporations to pay only slave wages to shore up their companies in our towns and cities”

    And yest in the other thread about immigration you support UKIP – a party that has clearly stated it wants to lower taxes on the rich to promote “job creation” according to Thatcherite philosophy.
    Make up your mind, are you for or against your enslavement? :)

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      You are mistaken or have in some way misunderstood what I was writing when you say I supported UKIP in another thread. I have never supported UKIP. I am very pro EU and do not believe it is in the interests of the UK or Europe by us not to be a part of it That said, doesn’t mean, however, that I feel European bureaucracy is right in many of the policies we have been collectively forced to accept across the board. It is obsessed with many factions of ideology that is destructive to the union as a whole.

      If one of the issues that UKIP has hit on suggests they have an alternative view on any such policy and it fits with my deliberations, then it could appear I go along with them as a whole. It doesn’t mean that at all. Because UKIP are lying to their supporters in the UK and such machinations should be illegal.

      For example if you watch this news item from RT you will see they are outright liars on their policies regarding immigration into the UK. Which is their number one mantra. Their claim is, immigration into the UK is most heavily from inside the EU states and they do not consider that the large majority from outside Europe either exists or is its major problem. They hide that lie from the people who vote for them on this one and only issue they have that separates them from our traditional Conservative party.

      Both these politicians cited in this news clip are not being completely honest. First 80% of all immigrants into the UK come from outside of Europe. Only 20% emanate from within the 27 members. So, the guy from Luxemburg is correct on that. The UKIP guy denies this is true and claims Europe are the controllers of our boarders.

      However, the chap from Lux claims the Swiss are importing people only via Schengen which is also not reality. Most of those who migrate into Switzerland are from Turkey, Africa and Asia, putting enormous pressure on their infrastructure and changing their culture at an alarming rate.

      Where UKIP is right is in every state in the union should have a referendum on immigration as the Swiss has done. That is Democracy and every individual throughout our continent has a right to a say in what happens to their way of life. And those running this show must give way to the rights of the individual to raise their objections to policies that are seen by the majority as destructive.

      I go along with that notion. However, I do not, in any way agree with UKIP or would vote for it. I want a united federal Europe with policies that suit the people of that union. And I agree with the free movement of people within. However, if Europe is the unmitigating pressure behind any of the states having to bring in unlimited migrants from outside its borders, then that has to change and fast. Businesses can then do what they should always have done, and that is to train the indigenous population, at their own cost, to work in their corporations. They, like all of us, owe society rightful taxes and must be expected to assist social adaptation. UKIP do not believe in that. They are rabid Capitalists who would run our country akin to the Tzars of Russia in their day. Anyone who would vote for them would have to be mad if they are anything but the billionaire class.

  40. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Of course the EU should set a minimum wage level across Europe.

    Similarly, the EU should set:

    a maximum sunlight level

    a maximum rain per annum level

    a maximum IQ level

    a maximum

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian


  41. avatar

    Here’s an interesting issue for a debate: should the EU set a minimum income tax percentage for incomes above, say, EUR 80k?

    Come on, give us this debate!

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      The income tax should be progressive.
      The more you earn the more TAX you PAY. It makes economic sense.

  42. avatar
    Peter Cartwright

    I think the principle of subsidiarity definitely should be kick in on this issue!

  43. avatar

    And on what grounds would the EU act to impose minimum wage? Internal market?

  44. avatar

    God forbid! Unless you want to completely destroy poorer nations in East and South.

  45. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    @catherine benning: Yes i am watching RT’s news feed but let’s remember RT stands for RUSSIA Today – everything they say should be – as is with western media – taken with a grain of salt.
    They regularely bring in that dope Patrick Young who loves to bash the EU free movement for example while hypocriticaly benfiting from it.

  46. avatar
    van Noorden

    How can anybody in Europe live from a salary of 200 dollar/month like in Romenia.
    That is exploitation in purest form, bcs price level in Romenia is about as high as the western european countries. Many people have to do all kind of bad jobs like working on sexsites like jasmin or to do theft. Is that the Europe we want?

  47. avatar
    van Noorden

    I wish someone from the European Comission would help to alliviate the situation in Romenia especially for young people. The struggle young people have in Romenia to keep their heads above the water and to not end on the streets is really heartbreaking. I have expierienced it myself in the past year. I tried to help one person but in the end i failed. I could not provide a permanent solution.Please give people a future so they can build a normal life and will have a place under the sun. That is what the European Union should be about.
    Helping normal people. Then the support for the Europena Union would grow again.

  48. avatar

    Hard to answer. While GDP differs from north to south and west to east, what are the median figures that satisfied the whole Union. A fair amount will look too little in the north west due high cost of living but excellent in the south east where prices are way lower. I would rather go with percentages from local GDP.

  49. avatar

    I think we Bulgaria should leave Europe and warming friendship with Russia again there will be best solution for our poverty

  50. avatar
    Todor Belakov

    Well, I think that there must be a minimum wage of 550-600 euros for all the EU members. This will make the whole economy in EU more common and flexible, I think.

  51. avatar

    The minimum wage is to guarantee human dignity non-degrading living for. The European Union should analyze each country’s internal situation and determine the size of each country. Otherwise, there is the fact that here in Latvian. Where business is lobbying politicians to avoid the law increased the minimum wage and unions controlled by the same business.

    • avatar
      Razvan Mihaeanu

      And what is the exact procentage of this “human dignity”? How much from the average wage should be the minimum wage and why?

  52. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Sim eu também estou de acordo o salário minimo é o de garantir a dignidade humana não -degradante para se poder criar um salário minimo dentro do espaço da UE a União Europeia terá que analisar as situações de cada pais a Europa tem paises tem nações ricas e nações pobres . Na minha opinião ainda é muito cedo para se poder comentar esta questão Porque os estados menos desenvolvidos precisam de mudar os seus sistemas democráticos

  53. avatar
    Razvan Mihaeanu

    Take the data from EU member states from 10-15 years regarding the ratio between minimum wage and average wage, and you will notest that has always been somewere around 1/3 to 40%…and that’s it! 60% is just socialist insanity! Theft! The state doesn’t create property, bussinesses do it! Yes, we should have a “dictated” minimum wage (depending on each member state, not EU centralized), but not by governments or unions, instead let the market economy (average wage) to establish it every 2 years as between 39-40% from it (the 1% is just a governmental “room for manoeuvre” to make a round number)! The real “social equality” is not stealing property “through redistribution of wealth” but the respect vor vote, law and taxes: starting line, finishing line, and the “bang”. If we are “all winners” in this “athletic race”, it means we leave in a tyranny, where the competition is not stimulated, but simulated. If we know the results (“thanks” to leftist insane ideologies), then why should we run in the first place?

  54. avatar
    Dawn Gill

    I think, on balance, that I am in favour of a Europe-wide minimum/living wage because workers in countries which currently have lower living standards and poor public services would be able to pay, via their taxes, for improved education and health services. This would make their populations better able to meet the requirements of changing economic circumstances. It wouldn’t be so easy for the transnational corporations to pit workers against each other in the competition for jobs, by threatening to relocate in low-wage economies; it would prevent the transnationals from exploiting what they regard as cheap labour wherever located and whatever their movements. It may also reduce unemployment of a so-called ‘underclass’ in the wealthier countries. It would reduce migration from the poorer to the richer countries. I think this would be a good Labour policy. Big business would squeak, and threaten to relocate outside Europe. This indicates that we need a global response to the exploitation of what is currently regarded as ‘cheap labour’ (and this is a racist and sexist term if ever there was one). The exploitation of cheap female labour in the sweatshops of Asia should also be challenged. Globalised capacity to over-exploit labour in the quest for increased profits should be challenged by policy makers at national level and Europe-wide. It’s only a start. Definitely, Labour should go for it.

  55. avatar
    Karen Wontner

    Costs of living across the EU would vary too greatly to have a monetary value set across the whole union. However it may be feasible to require member states to set a legal minimum wage against some national level, such as a given percentage of the national median wage. In any case many argue that the national minimum wage does not adequately reflect the cost of living, arguing for a “living wage” set at a higher rate.

  56. avatar
    John Poynton

    The classical economists’ view is that minimum wages reduce the rate at which jobs are created, and that it is a matter for society, though the welfare system, to make good any shortfall below what may be considered an acceptable minimum.
    This enables workers to bid their way back into work during a recession, a process dubbed “supply creating its own demand”, thereby speeding up the economic recovery. As the economy strengthens so workers are then able to negotiate better terms and higher wages, until a point is reached where inflation takes off and the government has to slam on the brakes. The level of unemployment at this point will depend on structural factors such as regional imbalances, levels of immigration, welfare traps and standards of education.
    However, back in the 1930s John Maynard Keynes looked around him during the Great Depression and saw that this process was not happening. He thought that there must be something wrong with the classical laws of economics and that a new more general theory of employment, interest and money was required, hence his now famous book with that title. He had seen the transition from “classical physics” to “modern physics” and thought that something similar was required in the field of economics. The question is, was he right?
    During the 1960s and 1970s in the UK a malaise, which became known as stagflation, developed which made it impossible for government to stimulated the economy to reduce unemployment without first triggering higher inflation. Milton Friedman delivered his Nobel lecture in 1977 on the subject of stagflation and concluded it was caused by “unanticipated increases in aggregate demand”, which in plain English can be interpreted as union- extorted pay increases, ie pay levels above the natural rate that balances supply and demand for each skill and location in the labour market. Most people had also observed by this time that Keynes had omitted to notice that during the 1930s that it was the union closed shop, which prevented employers from offering jobs to the unemployed (non members). The likely conclusion therefore is that Keynes was wrong, and that the reason his general theory is so difficult to understand is that it is an unnatural construct.
    However the proof of this had to wait until Margaret Thatcher’s reforms of the Unions in the 1980s, since when of course there has not been the slightest whiff of stagflation. The term has pretty much dropped our of our vocabulary altogether. In addition the phenomenon of zero-hours contracts shows that the classical laws of economics whereby supply creates its own demand are still very much intact.
    So where does that leave the minimum wage? Surely it is better to have half a job than no job at all, and to be patient while the economy recovers so that better terms and wages can be obtained later? And we have already seen how levels of unemployment vary across the EU. So unequivocally I would say that a common minimum wage would be a very bad idea indeed.
    But that does not mean that individual economies should not set their own, as most already do. One new factor is the prospect of deflation, and an increase in the minimum wage could well provide a defence against it.
    Even more interesting is the problem of immigration, which in the UK is undermining wage levels and preventing a substantial reduction in unemployment (the official employment figures now being riddled with inaccuracies such as part-time working and welfare sanctions). The UKIP position is that the fiscal deficit of still some £100bn could be eliminated entirely simply by reducing unemployment by a further 4%, but that of course is impossible without reducing immigration.
    What no one seems to have noticed is that minimum wage legislation, which is not restricted under EU law if my reading of this site is correct (anyone disagree?) could enable the UK to restrict immigration without restricting the physical freedom of movement at all. All we have to do is set a progressively higher minimum wage for immigrants in order to price them out of the market, continuing the increase until our target level of 50,000 immigrants pa is met. Have I missed something?

  57. avatar
    Stoyan Asenov

    Why is the price of fuel equal in all Europe ? Why is the price of electricity equal ? What about the prices of rice, cheese, wine, meat, phone bills etc. ? Why are European countries such as Bulgaria and Romania forced to abolish double pricing for foreigners and locals and at the same time are forced to pay same bills as all Europeans ? There is more: there is no unified taxing system in Europe, which is a huge problem. How is it possible, a country like Bulgaria is allowed to have a flat tax rate of 10% – inequality is already rampant in this country and it’s on a brink of a collapse. At the same time neighboring Greece is employing 45% tax on high income. It is crystal clear that Greece will have to protect itself from such a rogue state as Bulgaria and employ additional taxation on all business transactions with it. Luxembourg is another rogue state which is cheating by taxing businesses as low as 5%. This is Europe :) a joke destined to fail

  58. avatar

    Just why is unemployment so high and wages so low?
    Is it possible that EU and its concept of ‘privatisation’ could be a factor?
    After all, a private firm must have same costs and can only be competitive by paying lower wages than the State. Speaking from UK, thirty years ago, yard gang labourers could buy a house, but not anymore.

  59. avatar

    I don’t think it is possible to set an actual figure but a percentage of median wage may be a starting point.

  60. avatar

    a nationwide minimum and maximum wage would be more optimum to avoid any financial crisis

  61. avatar

    misconception of economy
    economy comes from the Greek and being economical means being reasonable and inexpensive. but reason is hard to find in the world. a global minimum with global maximum wage would be optimum to fight any financial crisis problems and avoid too great disparities which are the main reason for the global crisis. competition is only exploiting, I do not remember gaining anything as a consumer from western companies moving cheaper production to the east, nor did lowest oil prices decrease any costs. competition can still be achieved through innovation for example. so bring your house in order = economy.

  62. avatar
    John Poynton

    We all want to see a narrower wage gap in the UK, but just imposing it by law will almost certainly just push up unemployment. The trick is to tighten the labour market so that employers have to compete for labour at the same time as having the money to do so, and that is impossible so long as we cannot control our borders. Nor can we force employers to invest in training up our school leavers or investing in new technology and hence economic growth. That is why Labour’s call for a £10 minimum wage whilst staying in the EU is a contradiction in terms. Yet another policy that does not add up!

  63. avatar
    João Castel-Branco

    Arguing the minimum wage is not bad is lousy, because there will always be a mouse to eat the only crumb that will be.

    It would be far better to discuss the value of the highest orderly possible, than the value of the minimum.

    f that were so, there would be food for all.

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