The new government is to take the EU to court to prevent it enforcing minimum wage rules in Denmark, it states in the three-party coalition agreement presented last week.
“In Denmark it is the labour market parties which negotiate the terms of wages. On that basis, labour market parties are also against the EU directive in minimum wages,” the agreement states.
An EU directive on minimum wages was recently adopted, but Denmark and Sweden are both opposed because of the established labour models in those two countries, by which wages are set through negotiations between trade unions and employers.
The EU Commission has stated that it will respect the Danish model and will not force the country to code a minimum wage into law, but the government wants the directive to be removed completely.
“Regardless what the consequences of the directive are here and now, it’s a slippery slope that the EU is ratified directives on wages. That is why we in the government have decided to take an annulment suit to the EU Court with a view to have the directive ruled invalid,” employment minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said in a written comment to news wire Ritzau.
The case will attempt to have the directive nullified on the grounds that it does not comply with the EU Treaty, Ritzau writes.
Trade Unions and the left wing party Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) have both previously called for Denmark to go to the EU Court over the issue.
It is not certain that Denmark stands to gain overall from such a lawsuit, an expert said.
“It might be that you can bring this lawsuit and win politically. But it could have some political consequences,” Laust Høgedahl, professor and labour market researcher at Aalborg University, told Ritzau.
“If Denmark goes in and throws a spanner in the works of this directive, we [could] then become isolated in a European context and become unpopular with the other countries. So it might be a legal victory but it could also be a political defeat,” he said.