European Minimum Wage (cepInput)


In January 2020, the EU Commission published a consultation paper on "fair minimum wages". The aim is a legal binding measure for minimum wages at EU level. The cepInput examines the legal question on the leeway available to the Commission in this context.


The Commission's plans to legislate on an EU minimum wage at EU level encounters a legal problem: it has no legislative competence for "pay".

The Union may only act within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States. Consequently the EU's social legal basis cannot be used because of the competence exception on pay. For the same reason, neither the flexibility clause nor an intergovernmental cooperation in the form of enhanced cooperation can be considered as a legal basis. Nor can the cohesion policy competences or the basic right of workers to healthy, safe and dignified working conditions be invoked.

The Member States are, however, free to commit themselves to common minimum wage regulations by an international treaty.