EUROPEAN MINIMUM WAGE: OPPORTUNITIES FOR A SOCIAL EUROPE
SEP actively participated in the new discussion launched by the Conference on the Future of Europe, providing an opportunity for students, academics, representatives of international organizations, trade unions and employers' associations to express themselves on the proposed directive of the European Commission on minimum wages.
The event organized by SEP created a forum where student groups had the opportunity to discuss the effects of the directive and formulate any suggestions for improving four different thematic areas. The issues chosen refer to the directive’s most salient aspects: firstly, the proposed directive aims to combat the phenomenon of in-work poverty, a phenomenon that affects 20 million European workers, or 9.4% of the total (Eurostat, 2018). Furthermore, the proposed directive aims to ensure the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment between men and women in matters of employment by reducing gender wage inequalities, which in Europe still stand at 14% (European Commission, 2021 ). Thirdly, the proposed directive contributes to achieving the Sustainability Development Goals in Europe. The directive is also designed to take into account the consequences on job creation and competitiveness, including for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Aims and expected results
The initiative included an online round table, which was followed by an in-person debate among students with the aim of creating a forum for the formulation of improvement proposals for the fight against in-work poverty, gender wage inequality, the pursuit of Sustainable Development objectives (objective 8: “Decent work and economic growth” and objective 10: “Reduce inequalities”) and the competitiveness of businesses.
The “European Minimum Wage: Opportunities for a Social Europe” initiative was awarded within the “University 4 EU – Your future, our Europe” National Competition promoted by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) and by the Department for European Policies and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, in collaboration with the Conference of Rectors of Italian Universities (CRUI).