As of January 1st, 2015, 22 out of 28 EU member states had established a national minimum wage. The lowest wage is in Bulgaria (184 euros per month) and the highest in Luxemburg (1,923 euros). Expressed in purchasing power standards, the highest minimum wage is equivalent to 4 times the lowest, reveals Eurostat (statistical office of the European Union). 10 EU countries have a minimum wage of less than 500 euros monthly. In 5 other countries minimum wages vary between 500 and 1,000 euros. In the 7 other countries, they are much higher than 1,000 euros per month. By way of comparison, the federal minimum wage in the United States is just above 1,000 euros monthly in January 2015, points out Eurostat.
Minimum wages are identical in Belgium and the Netherlands, at 1,502 euros. The 2 countries come in second place.
When measured in relative terms, i.e. in proportion to the median pre-tax monthly wage, France and Portugal come first, with a rate of 60%. At the bottom of this league come the Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, and Romania. In Belgium the minimum monthly wage is 51% of the median monthly wage (pre-tax).
Using national currencies the minimum wage increased in 2015 compared to 2008 in every country except Greece, where it fell by 14%, and Ireland, where it remained the same. The biggest increases between 2008 and 2015 were to be found in Romania (+95%), Bulgaria (+64%), Slovakia (+58%) and in Latvia (+57%). And here in Belgium, the minimum salary increased by 15% between 2008 and 2015.