Bulgaria and Romania had on January 1st, 2017 the lowest minimum wages in the European Union (EU), namely EUR 235 and EUR 275 per month respectively, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union reveals.
They were followed by Latvia and Lithuania (both EUR 380), the Czech Republic (EUR 407), Hungary (EUR 412), Croatia (EUR 433), Slovakia (EUR 435), Poland (EUR 453) and Estonia (EUR 470).
In five other Member States, located in the south, minimum wages were between EUR 500 and EUR 1000 per month: Portugal (EUR 650), Greece (EUR 684), Malta (EUR 736), Slovenia (EUR 805) and Spain (EUR 826).
In the remaining seven Member States, all located in the west and north of the EU, minimum wages were well above EUR 1000 per month: the United Kingdom (EUR 1397), France (EUR 1480), Germany (EUR 1498), Belgium (EUR 1532), the Netherlands (EUR 1552), Ireland (EUR 1563) and Luxembourg (EUR 1999).
For comparison, the federal minimum wage in the United States was EUR 1192 per month in January 2017.
However, Eurostat notes, the disparities in minimum wages across the EU States are considerably smaller once price level differences are eliminated: minimum wages in those Member States with relatively lower price levels become relatively higher when expressed in purchasing power standard (PPS), and relatively lower in those Member States with higher price levels.
Compared with 2008, minimum wages in 2017, expressed in euro, increased in every Member State having a national minimum wage, except Greece where they dropped by 14 percent.
Between 2008 and 2017, minimum wages doubled in Bulgaria (+109 percent) and Romania (+99 percent). In addition, Slovakia (+80 percent) as well as the three EU Baltic Member States – Estonia (+69 percent), Latvia (+65 percent) and Lithuania (+64 percent) – also recorded significant increases.