Although minimum wages have grown across the EU, Germany ranks among the lowest for western European countries, a report on Thursday revealed. Produced by the Hans-Böckler Foundation’s Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), the report showed that Germany came in second last place at €9.19 ($10.36) per hour — even after a 35-cent increase earlier this year. It was defeated only by the UK, where the minimum wage of £7.83 now equates to €8.85, albeit partly as a result of the pound weakening since the referendum vote to leave the EU. Read more: Hard Brexit risks 100,000 German jobs: report Although wages in Germany were higher than many southern and eastern European states, workers were still vulnerable to poverty. The minimum wage, which would equate to around €1,146 per month after taxes and social contributions, barely stood above the poverty line and only made up around 48 percent of the national … [Read more...] about Germany minimum wage remains one of lowest in region: report
Why eastern europe is better than western europe
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks not only for his own country but also, at least unofficially, for the "Seven Dwarfs" — the joking moniker given to the seven smaller European Union member states that have gathered around the conservative-liberal Dutchman. The governments of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are as unimpressed with many of the currency and EU reforms proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron this April in Strasbourg as Rutte is. The comparatively mild reforms proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel have left the Netherlands prime minister cold as well. Read more: Merkel and Macron present competing EU reform proposals The 51-year-old Rutte roundly rejected a eurozone budget as well as a new investment fund for the currency union. Speaking in Strasbourg, he said it would be sufficient if member states would simply uphold the currency union's existing budgetary rules. That being the case, only in an emergency would … [Read more...] about Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says more EU is not the answer
"The elections taking place on 26 May will decide the destiny of this continent," the leader of the Christian Democratic bloc in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, declared at a plenary session last month. Weber heads the list of candidates for his political family, the European People's Party (EPP), and he is not alone: Many politicians from all camps have been using the same terms to describe the upcoming European elections. Weber intends to run for president of the European Commission. He sees the vote as a straight fight between pro-Europeans and nationalists. "This Europe that we're living in today is a good Europe," he says. "We won't let today's nationalists destroy it for us." There have never been as many right-wing populists and euroskeptics in EU member states as there are for this election. Opinion polls are indicating that they could get more than 20% of the seats. Read more: 'Vast' far-right disinformation networks discovered in EU The Europe of Orban or Macron? … [Read more...] about Forward or backward? Decision time in the EU
Ahead of elections for the European Parliament this week, Europeans have much to worry about. There's a persistent threat by US President Donald Trump to impose punitive tariffs on EU countries, the ongoing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing, and a series of uncertainties accompanying Britain's exit from the 28-nation bloc. Moreover, the EU's sovereign debt crisis of 2012 is still casting a long shadow, notably over the 19 states that share the euro. The cocktail of economic woes has held the EU economy down for the past six months, with the bloc's strongest economy, Germany, just avoiding slipping into recession. With just a few days to go until the elections, the European statistics office, Eurostat, is seeing at least a haze of a silver lining in all the clouds, reporting an acceleration of economic activity. Growth in the first three months of the year came in at 0.5% for the EU, and 0.4% for Germany. Slowdown still expected for 2019 German Economy Minister … [Read more...] about Will faltering EU growth play a role in the European elections?
Politics is unfair, German newspaper Die Welt noted. "Sometimes, so unfair that it's hardly possible to bear," the paper's commentary ran. "You don't need to be a friend of Andrea Nahles — her conservative image of society and her functional style — to appreciate the injustice of her resignation." Nahles had worked to restore the SPD's social welfare credentials that were so badly damaged by the reforms of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the newspaper said. As SPD leader, Nahles steered Angela Merkel's coalition partner to the left, successfully pushing through its agenda of improving social welfare and working conditions. Read more: Collectivization remarks split German Social Democrats "In this way, she's not only shaped the social policy but also the economic policy of the grand coalition, ultimately more than Merkel," Die Welt noted. However, those efforts hadn't translated into better polling, with the SPD's vote share … [Read more...] about German press reflects on resignation of SPD chief Andrea Nahles