Minimum wage is set by government minimum standard of guaranteed income (hourly/monthly) that worker should receive for work he/she performs. In 2014, there were 22 countries out of 28 in European Union, which had their national minimum wages set.
6 countries out of 28 have not minimum wage set by the government at all, but they have some collective bargaining agreements. Countries that don't have a minimum wage set by the government in European Union - Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, and Sweden.
As you can see from the table above - highest minimum wage is set in Luxembourg ($2593) while the lowest is in Bulgaria ($233) making a gap of $2360 between those two countries.
Another interesting trend - Baltic states which leads the minimum wage table in Former Soviet Union Space is at the end of minimum wage table in European Union.
Speaking of newcomers in EU, after 2004 and 2007 enlargements, for now, it seems that just Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta has higher minimum wage than in some of the old EU countries.
Map of the minimum wage in EU 2014
As you can see from above map - there are some interesting trends. South European countries, like Spain, Portugal, Greece has lower minimum wage than Benelux countries, France, UK and Ireland.
We have no data for Scandinavian countries, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Speaking of Germany, it's awaited that starting of 2015, the minimum hourly wage there should be set at EUR 8.50.
EU newcomers in 2004 and 2007, except Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta, receives the least, compared to others.
Standard of Minimum Wage in European Union
One more thing I would like to speak about - there has been some talks to introduce a standard of the minimum wage across all the EU. There are many who are against it, and many (perhaps from Eastern Europe who are for it). Some standard of united minimum wage would help to raise the standard of living in these poorest countries.
Now, I not talking that EU should introduce minimum wage as it's in Luxembourg. This would raise a lot of mess in those Eastern European countries - mainly because of I believe that average salary there is not so high as minimum wage in Western European countries. The mechanism for minimum wage could be simple - let's say it could be 75% of average minimum wage in EU.
Since this is Europe we are talking about, let's use Euro coins and banknotes as our currency to measure:
In 2014 average minimum wage in EU was about EUR 750, 75% of it would be EUR 562.
Well, again, it doesn't mean Luxembourg, Belgium or France should decrease their minimum wage, no - let they have their minimum wages above the united minimum wage. In the scenario of minimum wage EUR 562, it would ask 10 countries to increase their minimum wage - of course, it shouldn't be done overnight, but let's say in 5 years term.
For example Bulgaria - minimum wage 2014 - EUR 173 - Goal 2019 EUR 562, on average it would ask 77 EUR increase in a year. Yeah, I know it sounds much, but if we are looking to more social equally Europe, that's the minimum we can do - increase the minimum wage for low-skilled workers.
Another example: Poland - minimum wage 2014 - EUR 405 - Goal 2019 EUR 562 - on average it would ask 31 EUR increase in a year.
Personally, I do believe it is possible to raise the minimum wage in European Union. Of course, the mechanisms could be slightly different than my offer, but it asks only one - Political willingness. European Union should be more social equal.