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Palkovics: Hungary, Austria reject European minimum wage

Hungary and Austria believe that setting a minimum wage from Brussels would be ill-advised due to large differences in the level of development between European Union member states, Laszlo Palkovics, the minister of innovation and technology, said on Saturday.

Speaking to public media after talks with Austrian Labour Minister Martin Kocher on the sidelines of the EU summit in Porto, Portugal, Palkovics said the two countries “accept the [EU’s] basic principles [on taxation] and will take the methods into consideration, but will not accept this area being taken away from member states.”

Palkovics and Kocher also discussed the post-pandemic situation of the labour market, and agreed that decisions regarding remote work should be left to agreements between employers and employees. The government should, however, monitor the process to see whether new legislative measures are necessary, he said.

Hungary and Austria will cooperate and exchange experiences on the matter, and they will also work together to ease the situation of employees commuting to work across the Hungarian-Austrian border, he said.

Palkovics also noted that Hungary was opposed to a unified European tax system. According to the Hungarian stance, control over raising certain types of tax such as corporate tax should stay with member states to accommodate “diverse levels of development and economic structures”, he said. However, should the EU decide to unify the system, “number of adjustment tools are available,” Palkovics said.

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