Large Differences Between Minimum Wages in the EU

Within the European Union, there are significant differences in the minimum wage that applies in member states.


The highest minimum wage is almost seven times as high as the lowest minimum wage, calculated the European statistics agency Eurostat.

The 21 Member States with minimum wages can be divided into three groups. Ten member states in Eastern Europe have minimum wages below 700 euros. In the southern countries – Greece, Portugal, Malta, Slovenia and Spain – the amounts are between 700 and 1100 euros per month.

In the six countries in northwestern Europe – France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg – the minimum wage is above 1,500 euros.

Although the exact differences between the minimum wages are large, the differences are much smaller if the price differences in different countries are considered. Then the highest minimum wage is more than 2.5 times higher than the lowest.

21 of all 27 EU countries have a legal minimum wage.

In Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Sweden they don’t have it. In the last three, the minimum wages are established through negotiations between unions and employers, and the minimum wages are nevertheless high. But that is not the case in Cyprus, for example.

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