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Danish government sues EU over minimum wage

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish government sues EU over minimum wage
Denmark will seek to have the EU's minimum wage directive annulled by the EU Court. File photo: JOHN THYS / AFP

Denmark’s government on Wednesday brought a case requesting annulment of the EU’s minimum wage directive.

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The Danish lawsuit was confirmed by the Ministry of Employment in a press statement.

The case was expected as it was part of the policy agreement for the coalition government, signed in December. The deadline to bring the case against the EU Court in Luxembourg was Wednesday.

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An annulment suit is an attempt to have the directive revoked on the grounds that it is in breach of the EU Treaty.

An EU directive on minimum wages was adopted in October last year 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 Danish government wants the directive to be removed completely.

READ ALSO: Why is Denmark opposed to an EU minimum wage law?

“It’s important to underline that the directive does not force Denmark to introduce a minimum wage,” Employment Minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said in the statement.

“But despite that, this is a case of legislation without precedent, which makes it a principal case. We insist that wages must be set in Denmark and not the EU,” she said.

“The government has therefore decided that the EU Court must rule on this case,” she said.

The ministry said the process could take up to two years. The date on which the case will be taken up by the EU Court is yet to be set.

The directive sets an EU-wide minimum wage. The intention is that workers are given a fair minimum wage either by law or through collective bargaining.

The directive includes a requirement for member countries to produce an action plan if collective bargaining agreements cover less than 80 percent of working terms in the relevant country.

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