Bulgaria Could Face EU Sanctions over Regionally Differentiated Wages
Independent financial expert Mika Zaykova has warned that the European Commission could launch infringement proceedings against Bulgaria if the country approved the proposal for regionally differentiated minimum.
Bulgaria's Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov said in a Friday interview that the government would discuss the introduction of regionally differentiated minimum wages with representatives of the business sector and the trade unions.
Djankov argued that residents of big cities like Sofia, Plovdiv or Burgas were hardly likely accept a monthly payment of BGN 310, while a substantial share of the private sector workers in northwestern Bulgaria, the poorest EU region, were paid minimum wage.
Representatives of the business sector and the trade unions responded differently to Djankov's proposal, with the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) defining it as "reasonable", as opposed to the label of "unacceptable" by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB).
Zaykova, as cited by the Focus news agency, warned Monday that Bulgaria could be penalized for introducing regionally differentiated minimum wages.
The expert reminded that Bulgaria as an EU Member State had ratified the European Social Charter stipulating equal pay for equal work, adding that the proposal was anti-constitutional.
"Bulgaria must not be compared to federal countries like Germany. They have relative autonomy of the constituent units and such a move is possible, but when it comes to Bulgaria, this constitutes a violation of the Constitution" Zaykova commented.
She insisted that regionally differentiated minimum wages would incur irreparable damage to Bulgaria's social security system and would violate the principle of equality among people going into retirement.
Zaykova concluded that such an approach would deepen the inequalities between the different regions of the country, adding that it could be considered discriminatory.
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