At an unofficial meeting of social and labor affairs ministers of the EU in Lithuania today, Social Affairs Minister Taavi Rõivas said that it wasn't realistic to establish a minimum wage at the EU level and that Southern European salaries had to come down.
"Salaries in the southern European countries in recession and debt must be decreased to restore the competitiveness of these countries. Keeping wages unchanged during a recession could lead to economic difficulties at the company level and unemployment in society," he said in his remarks.
He said a uniform minimum wage would not be realistic because of the economic disparity between the 28 countries. He reserved praise for Sweden's practice of using solely collective bargaining to arrive at wages.
The ministers are in Vilniius to exchange ideas on the role of wages in the economy and whether coordinating minimum wage levels at the EU level could have a role in stabilizing the economy.
Rõivas told uudised.err.ee that the meeting pointed up major differences in national systems and said it was unlikely wages could be coordinated at a federal level.