Ensuring decent living conditions throughout Europe

IF – 10/2022

In the summer, the EU countries and the European Parliament agreed upon uniform standards for minimum wages in the EU. The legal text includes standards covering how statutory minimum wages should be defined, updated and implemented. EU countries will have to define action plans for increasing collective bargaining coverage in the future. After two years of negotiations the political straitjacket was far tighter than many had presumed during the run-up to the negotiations.

Minimum wages in the EU have been politically sealed

Negotiations about the EU Minimum Wage Directive with the European Commission and the Council were concluded on the night of June 7 and an institutional agreement was also realised. The Council adopted the agreed text on June 16 by qualified majority and out of the EU-27, only Sweden and Denmark voted against it and Hungary abstained. 

The Council formally approved the dossier in October after it had been approved in the European Parliament in September. The Members of Parliament voted on the trialogue result with 505 votes in favour, 92 against and 44 abstentions.

A more social Europe is the objective

The Directive aims to improve the working and living conditions of all workers in the EU and to bring about economic and social progress. The new rules set minimum requirements for the adequacy of statutory minimum wages provided for in national legislation or collective agreements and they also ensure that workers will have more effective access to minimum wage protection.

The Directive includes regulations that will promote collective bargaining. This means that member states must define action plans for increasing collective bargaining coverage if it is below 80 per cent. Europe-wide procedural standards for defining, updating and implementing statutory minimum wages were also established.


EU member states now have two years to implement the directive's provisions. However, this could still change because of the current economic and energy crisis. Due to the current wave of inflation, citizens across Europe are already demanding quick solutions that will be immediately be noticed in their own wallets.