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The Council reaches agreement on a directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU

Met dank overgenomen van Sloveens voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op maandag 6 december 2021.

The Employment and Social Policy Council today reached an agreement on a proposal for a directive on adequate minimum wages aimed at ensuring fair working conditions in the EU. This is a remarkable success for Slovenia, with Minister Janez Cigler Kralj at the helm, as an agreement between EU member states in this respect was deemed unlikely at the beginning of the Slovenian Presidency.

Slovenia placed considerable focus on this proposal, as one of the Presidency's priorities is promoting quality work for a quality life for all generations. Negotiations were extremely challenging, requiring as it did the reconciling of the different concerns of EU member states, which questioned the adequacy of the legal basis and did not support major interferences in the systems in place at the national level.

EU member states repeatedly praised the Slovenian Presidency's open and transparent communication - it has listened to all EU member states and taken into account their suggestions.

Decent and fair pay must be ensured for the work done. This is about the basic respect for people and their work. The directive is particularly important for the most vulnerable, as it will help to prevent in-work poverty.

Janez Cigler KraljMinister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Janez Cigler KraljMinister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

The result of all the negotiations is today's adoption of the Council position on the directive in question, which allows for the entry in negotiations with the European Parliament. The directive respects the competences of individual EU member states and social partners in setting minimum wages, while ensuring European added value by promoting effective procedures for ensuring transparency and stability. It is estimated that the directive could allow minimum wages to increase in more than half of EU member states, positively affecting more than 25 million workers.

The Council also adopted conclusions on sustainable work over the life course, prepared by the Slovenian Presidency. As the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Slovenia has placed sustainable work at the heart of its Presidency programme. The challenges of a changing world of work, brought about by technological progress, globalisation, climate change and, above all, an ageing population, will only be addressed by ensuring sustainable work for all.

The Council agreed that, in order to ensure sustainable work over people's life course, it is necessary to improve health and safety at work, promote lifelong learning, find solutions to facilitate the reconciliation of work and private life, and create fair working conditions.

With the agreement reached on the proposal for a directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU and the adoption of the Council Conclusions on sustainable work, the Slovenian Presidency has left a strong mark in the area of labour and social policies in the EU, as other EU member states have recognised our efforts to continuously improve the living and working conditions of the population, having undertaken to make similar efforts not only at the political but also at the legislative level.

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, 6-7 December 2021

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