Alfred Sant calls for Europe-wide increase in minimum wage

The Labour MEP said that the Eurozone should agree to a general increase of 5% across the whole of Europe

Labour MEP Alfred Sant as called on Eurozone countries to implement a 5% increase in minimum wage.

Speaking during an economic dialogue and exchange of views with Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calviño at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs at the European Parliament, Sant pointed to the fact that growth prospects for the Eurozone as a whole have dimmed.

He said further concern was arising because of the UK’s impending exit from the European Union. Meanwhile, Sant said, investmnet levels are still lagging “not least by way of public investment”.

The former Prime Minsiter said that while jobs had been created, work conditions for many reamined “far less than satisfactory” with Sant adding that there was a “general feeling that living standards have not improved, especially for lower income households”.

“Don’t you think that the time has come to think outside the box when considering how eurozone rules are playing out?” asked Sant. “We have economic and financial stability maybe, but is this leading to social and perhaps political instability?”

Sant said that some say the ideals of a social Europe had been “lost in translation”. 

“Are eurozone rules serving as a brake on public investment especially when governments need, as they do now, to provide some answers to people’s expectations for better social conditions? Instead of seeing governments grant social welfare concessions because people are rioting in the streets or because tough elections beckon, could the eurozone coordinate  a social response, such as by agreeing to a general increase of say 5% in the minimum wage across the whole of Europe?” remarked the Maltese MEP.

On her part, Calviño said there should be a balance between fiscal responsiblity and the general welfare. “This is not a project for bureaucrats but for the people. It's vital to manage fiscal responsibility with general welfare. What effects one country affects all of Europe, for this reason we have to ensure there is also responsibility and trust between institutions so we can build a deeper Economic Monetary Union (EMU).”

Calviño said it was important that European and national institutions work for the citizens and that the citizens are made aware of this.

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