Welcoming a new year can be the trigger to carry out some changes in our lives. Getting back in shape, learning a new language, starting a different career path, re-tiling the floor, are just some of the changes we might want to embark on. What about moving to another country? During the past two years, many such opportunities have been put on hold but with many European countries opening up and relaxing their entry measures, the movement of people might become again solid option. If you are considering moving to a different country in the EU, knowing the minimum the countries you are interested in could prove useful.
In the EU, 21 of the 27 member states have defined a National Minimum Wage (NMW). That leaves out Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden. Of the 21 member states that have defined a minimum threshold for wages, there are 13 below 1,000 euros per month.
The list of member states with minimum wages below 1,000 euros includes, in descending order: Portugal (823 euros), Malta (792 euros), Greece (774 euros), Lithuania (730 euros), Poland (655 euros), Estonia (654 euros), Czech Republic (652 euros), Slovakia (646 euros), Croatia (624 euros), Hungary (542 euros), Romania (515 euros), Latvia (500 euros) and Bulgaria (332 euros).
Spain is a preferred choice for many. Employers pay wages 14 months a year, which brings the minimum above threshold with €1,126 [annual figure for 14 months divided by 12]. Topping the list is Luxembourg, with a figure of €2,257. By comparison, the lowest minimum wage in the European Union [Bulgaria] is seven times lower than Luxembourg’s. It is followed by Ireland (€1,775), the Netherlands (€1,725), Belgium (€1,658), Germany (€1,621), France (€1,603), Spain (€1,126) and Slovenia (€1,074).
When looking at the minimum wage in terms of purchasing power (PPP), the statistics start to change. Luxembourg, for example, falls to €1,707 and Bulgaria rises to €604. Portugal, another highly desired location, remains in the middle of the table, surpassed by Romania, where the minimum wage is lower.
The balance is positive for all European Union member states, with the exception of Greece, which in 2022 will have a lower minimum wage than it had in 2012. Ten years ago, it was set at 876 euros. In 2022, it is 773 euros, having reached a minimum of 683 euros previously.
In the remaining countries, the minimum wage in 2022 is higher than it was in 2012, in some cases with steeper increases than others. Among the member states that have increased the minimum wage the most are Lithuania and Romania. In Lithuania, in 2012, the minimum wage was 232 euros. In 2022 it is at 730 euros, an increase of about 500 euros in 10 years. Romania, on the other hand, has risen from 162 euros in 2012 to 512 euros in 2022, an increase of 350 euros.