Netherlands against European Minimum Wage
THE HAGUE, 25/05/13 - The cabinet has rejected a proposal by Labour (PvdA) for the introduction of a European minimum wage. “The economic differences between countries within Europe are too great for that,” wrote Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher Friday in a letter to parliament.
Asscher, himself PvdA, says he is in favour of a minimum wage throughout Europe, but does not consider that this has to be arranged at EU level. “Pressure can be put on from Brussels, but the introduction of the minimum wage can best be arranged at national level.”
PvdA MP Michiel Servaes recently came up with the minimum wage proposal. This could work out well for the Netherlands, as some member states have a competitive advantage over the Netherlands due to their low wages, he argued.
Farmers organisation LTO Nederland was in favour of the proposal. In neighbouring countries, such as Germany, employees are sometimes only paid 3 or 4 euros an hour, according to the organisation.
The cabinet letter also went into the question of whether socio-economic policy should be determined at European level, prompted by the increasing calls for this from Germany and France. The cabinet also rejected this idea.
Socio-economic policy must lie primarily with the national states, according to the cabinet. “Member states have the right to form fundamental principles for labour markets and social security themselves. The European Union should play a supporting role in the area of social policy.”
VVD MP Mark Verheijen reacted with relief to Asscher’s letter. “The European Union has little to look for in the social domain.”