It was a good day for Europe. The political agreement on a minimum wage in all Member States, reached by the national governments, the Commission and the European Parliament in the early hours of Tuesday, is reminiscent of a Europe of prosperity and cohesion that we have probably forgotten in recent years.
So minimum wage in Europe. It is not a short joke. But it is not what it seems at first glance. It does not mean that the Greek, the German and the Swede will be paid the same. It does mean, however, that in every European country the “institution” of the minimum wage will be provided, in order to strengthen the weakest. It goes without saying that the minimum wage is not a scholarship. That those who have rich CVs will be paid and will live better. But those who do not have them must also live with basic dignity. They do not have to choose whether to pay the rent or the children’s food.
Employees without lobby
The EU certainly does not have substantive responsibilities in social policy, but the minimum wage agreement highlights its coordinating role. Of course, there have been many arguments from time to time against legislative intervention to introduce a minimum wage: The competitiveness of the economy is declining. The autonomy of the social partners is undermined. The reintegration of the long-term unemployed into the labor market is becoming more difficult. The cost of services for the consumer increases.
And yet, there are many who need the minimum wage. Only they do not have a lobby. We do not hear them and we do not see them. They are the ones who clean our streets, wash our stairs, transport food and drinks to our neighborhood, so that we can, for example, enjoy the first coffee of the day with our newspaper, in which we will probably read in-depth analyzes against the minimum wage.
More “social Europe”
Because the truth is that in the past few wanted the minimum wage, while today they compete who wants it the most. “We promised it before the European elections,” say the European Socialists. “I announced it after the European elections,” said the center-right commission president.
It is the first time in a long time that a social policy issue has found a place on the agenda of the “27”. Let’s hope it’s not the last. Do not let Europe return to an endless umbilical cord scan for institutional cuts and changes in Treaties. No one is going to embrace Europe when they hear that “an agreement has been reached on the issue of the suspension minority in the Council”, even though this issue is indeed important. People will love Europe again when they feel it next to them. In his daily life, in his anxieties.
Source: Deutsche Welle