The idea is slowly gaining ground. What if European leaders set up a minimum wage on a continental scale? In an interview at Parisian, Tuesday 9 April, the head of the list The Republic on the move for the European elections, Nathalie Loiseau, also pleaded for a smic "in all the countries of the European Union", equivalent to "at least half of the median wage".
Currently, 22 of the EU's 28 member states have a national minimum wage, Eurostat points out. Only Denmark, Austria, Italy, Cyprus, Finland and Sweden do not have one. And from one country to another, the disparities are glaring. The lowest wage in Bulgaria, the lowest in Europe, is 286 euros gross. It reaches 700 euros gross in Portugal, 1,521 euros gross in France, and up to 2,071 euros gross in Luxembourg, develops the statistical agency of the European Union. From Bulgaria to Spain, via Greece and France, franceinfo asked European "smicards" about their living conditions.
Assistant teacher in a kindergarten in Sofia (Bulgaria), Sylvia Nikolova, 64, "earns 285 euros per month". Natalia Higueras, a young man from Madrid, has two jobs for 200 and 700 euros a month. In Athens, 35-year-old Nikos Tzortzis, a psychology graduate, receives 550 euros net for work in a call center. And in the south of France, David Gutmann and his wife are both remunerated for a job at a duck cannery company. The father has even started a parallel activity of self-entrepreneur, "to be able to finish the end of the month". All tell a daily penny.
I have to live with my partner to be independent: 40% of my salary goes into rent. The monthly expenses of electricity, it is 80 euros. The phone package, 20 euros. At the end, you have about 100 euros left for you.Natalia Higueras
These Europeans multiply the sacrifices, often without being able to spare the least euro. David Gutmann remembers this week "where the cumulus has let us go". "We stayed a week without hot water because we did not have money to replace it", he relates. The couple, half of whose salary starts immediately in the repayment of their home loan, is unable to finance the student housing of their children. As for the possibility of having leisure, "there is no question", loose Nikos Tzortzis from Athens (Greece).
The only thing you can do is go out for a coffee or a beer.Nikos Tzortzis
"For me, luxury is buying pants or having dinner with friends"adds Natalia Higueras.
Many still depend, at age 35 or 64, for help from relatives. "I live with my mother, explains Sylvia Nikolova. Housing is hers, I do not pay rent. " For his part, Nikos Tzortzis needs the financial help of his parents, of the order of 150 to 300 euros each month. A European salary? These employees at the doors of poverty demand above all an increase, because to survive with a smic in Europe proves more and more difficult. "To have a normal life, I would need about 800 euros of salary", Imagine Nikos Tzortzis. "I think I would need between 1,200 and 1,300 euros to live a normal life and to put a little side"continues Natalie Higueras. The Gutmann would, for their part, each need 400 to 500 euros more every month to get the head out of the water: "There, already, you can say to yourself, 'Well, that's it, maybe I'll start living'."