November 29, 2020

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Not much applause for European minimum wage plans

Not much applause for European minimum wage plans

The European Commission’s plans to introduce a minimum wage across Europe met with little enthusiasm. The CDA believes that Brussels politicians are too interested in national affairs.

The Social Democrats and Greens in the European Parliament are satisfied with the Commission’s plans. “Finally a proposal where wages will not fall. A trend reversal,” said Kim van Sparrentak (GroenLinks), who also believes that the plans do not go far enough to actually do something against poverty in the European Union Companies.

The European Commission advocates the early introduction of a minimum wage across the European Union. The Member States can determine how high this should be. The Commission also recommends that employers and employees in EU Member States should consult on issues such as pay (as has been the case in the Netherlands for some time).

Inclined plane

According to Jeroen Lenaers from the CDA, the member states themselves are responsible for the minimum wage. “It’s a slippery slope, because in the Netherlands it is an overall package in which taxes and social benefits such as housing allowance and care allowance also play a role.” He believes that Brussels should not interfere on issues such as the minimum wage.

Agnes Jongerius from the PvdA does not agree. The former chairman of the FNV union calls it a step in the right direction. “After all, there are conditions that a reasonable minimum wage in Europe must meet.”

Lenaers believes the plans won’t solve the real problems. “There is a poverty problem mainly in Eastern Europe, but you cannot solve poverty with a higher minimum wage. All incomes are low. What helps are measures to stimulate the economy.”

Jongerius agrees, but first refers to the Dutch situation. She is pleased that the governments are also being monitored. “The minimum wage must be observed in all government contracts. Practices such as the tunneling of the A2 near Maastricht, in which construction workers were underpaid, are then no longer possible.”

Brochure out too

D66 and VVD are also not enthusiastic about the plans. According to the parties, the differences between the Member States are too great for that. Caroline Nagtegaal (VVD) says she supports the Commission’s ambitions, but countries have to decide for themselves how to organize their social security. Bert-Jan Ruissen from the SGP agrees. “The European Commission goes far beyond its scope.”

An analysis by Rob Roos of the Forum for Democracy. “This is the next step in which the EU takes over the competences of the Member States. It must, however, take into account the different levels of economic development of the Member States and the different national traditions of collective bargaining.”