In January 2018, Bulgaria had the lowest gross minimum wage, meaning before taxes are deducted, across the EU, of 261 euro a month, statistics agency Eurostat said on February 23.
As of January 1, twenty-two out of the 28 EU member states have national minimum wages – only Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden do not have any.
The 22 EU member states that have national minimum wages can be divided into three main groups based on the level in euro, Eurostat said.
Nine member states, all also located in the east of the EU, followed with minimum wages between 400 and about 500 euro a month: Lithuania (400 euro), Romania (408 euro), Latvia (430 euro), Hungary (445 euro), Croatia (462 euro), the Czech Republic (478 euro), Slovakia (480 euro), Estonia (500 euro) and Poland (503 euro).
In five other EU countries, located in the south of the EU, minimum wages ranged between 600 and 900 euro a month: Portugal (677 euro), Greece (684 euro), Malta (748 euro), Slovenia (843 euro) and Spain (859 euro).
In the remaining seven EU countries, all located in the west and north of the EU, minimum wages were above 1400 euro a month: the United Kingdom (1401 euro), Germany and France (both 1498 euro), Belgium (1563 euro), the Netherlands (1578 euro), Ireland (1614 euro) and Luxembourg (1999 euro).
Across the 22 member states concerned, the highest minimum wage in the EU was almost eight times higher than the lowest. However, the disparities in minimum wages across the EU member states are considerably smaller once price level differences are eliminated: minimum wages in member states with lower price levels become relatively higher when expressed in purchasing power standard (PPS), and relatively lower in EU countries with higher price levels.
By eliminating price differences, minimum wages ranged from 546 PPS a month in Bulgaria to 1 597 PPS in Luxembourg, meaning that the highest minimum wage was almost three times higher than the lowest, Eurostat said.