The prospects for Juncker's pledge of a pan-European minimum wage

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The European Commission’s incoming president, centre-right politician Jean-Claude Juncker, caused surprise this summer when he pledged his support for a continent-wide minimum wage. Juncker, who will take up his post in November, has not yet detailed the potentially complicated practical framework for applying the minimum wage, a move which runs against the tide of the blanket austerity policies until now championed by Brussels. While Juncker faces numerous obstacles to succeed with the scheme, not least from European treaty texts, the idea that raising low incomes would be beneficial to economies appears to be gaining support even from the most unexpected quarters. Mediapart’s Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports on the arguments for and against, and in just what form a pan-European minimum wage might finally see the light of day.

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Jean-Claude Juncker, the first elected president of the European Commission (EC), pledged to introduce a minimum social wage in every European Union (EU) member state during a speech before the European Parliament on July 15th, shortly before the assembly voted to appoint him to the EC leadership post. Juncker, the candidate of the conservative and centre-right European People’s Party, was attempting to woo support from centre-left Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) – he also pledged to protect European public services from what he called “the whims of the age” - and the tactic worked.