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Sweden condemns EU by calling on states to set minimum wages
ME Leaders resent Brussels’ plan to introduce a standardized minimum wage in all member states. The proposal, made at the last EU social summit in Porto, was immediately rejected by Austria and Hungary as reckless due to the large differences in the level of development between the EU countries.
Now Danish and Swedish union leaders are threatening to bring the EU to the European Court of Justice as they fear that the introduction of Brussels will have serious consequences for their taxpayers.
Speaking to the French daily Le Monde, Torbjorn Johansson, who is responsible for collective bargaining at the Swedish union center LO, said the issue also risks sparking a debate about his country’s membership in the bloc.
He said: “Swedish unions should start to question whether joining the European Union was the right decision.”
Teresa Gouovelen, vice president of LO, said Swedish workers were reluctant to approve the draft European minimum wage directive.
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She said: “We certainly stand for a social Europe and are convinced that there are good intentions on the agenda in this regard. But the only way to accept this directive is to exclude us completely. “
She added: “This will inevitably weaken our parity negotiation model.
“We run the risk of seeing increased government intervention, which, according to the directive, must monitor its implementation and report to Brussels.”
For months, Danish and Swedish social partners have campaigned against what they see as a threat to the Scandinavian economic and social model.
In both countries, the law does not prescribe a minimum income: the level of wages is regulated through collective agreements concluded by the social partners, without political interference.
In Sweden and Denmark, these agreements cover 90% and 80% of jobs, respectively.
EU heads of state and government met in Portugal in early May to discuss the bloc’s strategy for social affairs for the next decade.
Speaking after talks with Austrian Labor Minister Martin Kocher, Hungarian Minister Laszlo Palkovic said the two countries “will take the basic principles and methods into account, but will not allow this area to be taken away from the member states.”
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A few days before the summit, Mr Kocher of the Austrian People’s Party said that the EU was not competent enough in the area of labor policy, and therefore his government could not agree to the transfer of its sovereign powers to decide on such an issue.
Mr Palkovics also noted that Hungary is against a single European tax system.
According to Hungary’s position, control over the increase of certain types of taxes should remain with the member states in order to take into account “different levels of development and economic structures,” he said.
However, if the EU decides to unify the system, “a number of adjustment tools will be available,” he added.
At the summit, the leaders adopted a joint declaration on strengthening a social Europe, but the text is optional.
Speaking to Le Monde, France’s Minister for European Affairs, Clement Bone, said: “The Porto Summit took place at a turning point when we begin to design ourselves in the post-crisis period to explore how to strengthen the European model to respond to citizens’ concerns. especially young people.
“It’s not technocratic or remote.
“The Declaration strengthens the foundations of social rights adopted in Gothenburg in 2017 and spread across Europe, such as parental leave and soon the European minimum wage.
“This was supported by the significant involvement of social partners.
“The aim is to demonstrate that Europe is not a competitive jungle that is crumbling to the detriment of its citizens: on the contrary, it can and must protect.”
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