Agreement on new EU minimum wage law reached in Brussels

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By Meabh Mc Mahon
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Euro notes   -  Copyright  Boris Roessler/(c) Copyright 2021, dpa ( Alle Rechte vorbehalten

A deal on an EU minimum wage has been reached between the European Parliament and member states, paving the way for a new EU-wide law.

The agreement does not mean European citizens across the continent will earn the same in Spain as in Sweden, but it does mean EU countries will have to provide decent working and living conditions for all employees.

Nicholas Schmit, the European Commissioner for Jobs, told Euronews the deal will be key to fighting poverty.

"This is a gamechanger, and I think this gamechanger will bring up one essential element- fighting inward poverty but also strengthening the idea of the social market economy," Schmit said in Strasbourg.

Based on Tuesday's political agreement, EU countries will have to determine their minimum wage based on a basket of household goods and services – taking into consideration the gross median wage. 

They will also have to set their own goals at the same time as implementing them.

Dennis Radtke, a German MEP from the pro-business EPP group, said that there are concerns at the so-called directive on adequate minimum wages, as it could mean more costs in troubled times.

"I understand that a lot of companies are worried about the current situation, but this directive should not contribute to these concerns, the impact will be limited," he told Euronews.

Some member states, such as Denmark and Sweden are against the directive. They do not want the EU to interfere in wage issues and worry the collective bargaining systems with unions they already have in place will be jeopardised.

The agreement will next go to a vote in the European Parliament, before coming into force within the next two years.