Combating income inequality in the EU: A legal assessment of a potential EU minimum wage directive

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Amidst the hopeful winds of economic recovery, the von der Leyen Commission, faithful to its commitment to keep implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), promised to deliver an EU legal instrument on minimum wages. Little did they know that a global pandemic would exacerbate the need that instigated this initiative. However, in the current debate, there is considerable uncertainty and disagreement as to whether or not the European Union (EU) is actually competent to adopt such an instrument, and whether it would be in line with the principle of subsidiarity. This article analyses these legal questions. It finds that there is a strong case to be made that an EU measure is necessary in this field to adequately protect the right to fair and adequate remuneration in the common EU market, economy and currency, and that even if it may require a certain degree of legal creativity, it is possible within the current Treaty framework to adopt a robust EU Directive on adequate minimum wages, making use of art.175 TFEU on social and economic cohesion, either as an alternative or in addition to art.153 TFEU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-174
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


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