If you ever wanted to know what the minimum salary in the European Union countries is in 2023, you’re at the right place! I had the same question and decided to investigate things thoroughly. Today, I am here to share my results with you.
The main reason why I like to check out the minimum wage in a country before visiting (or considering to relocate there or living for several months in that particular place) is that at least in theory, the minimum salary should be enough to allow you to live an acceptable life in that country.
In reality, things are a bit different as you can’t really live a decent life on minimum salary in most EU countries.
Still, it paints a great picture when it comes to estimating your costs of living, as you’ll spend a lot less in a country where the minimum wage is 100 Euros per month, compared to one with a 1,000 Euro minimum salary.
For a better understanding of how much is enough to live in a specific country, I have written an article on the average wages in the EU so you should check that out as well after finishing reading this article.
Now, back to the minimum wage in the EU, it’s worth noting that I started tracking these values in 2019, when I published the first copy of this article.
And it’s interesting to see that now, in 2023, the minimum wage in most countries in Europe has increased a LOT, despite the fact that the past three years have been crazy to say the least.
With soaring inflation and talks for a minimum wage across the entire European Union in place, the salaries kept growing in 2023 and I am sure that they won’t stop anytime soon.
We’ve seen massive year-over-year growth in all EU countries, but in some, despite the huge gains compared to last year, the increases are still under the inflation rates. This is very important, as it means that the actual buying power is decreasing, despite the wage hikes.
While they don’t seem to keep up with the inflation numbers in most countries, it’s good to see that the countries which recorded the highest increases in the minimum salary numbers are the ones towards the bottom – further meaning that the differences between the first and last placed in terms of income are no longer as huge as they were before (but they are still high).
Minimum monthly wages in European Union Countries
Now, with all these in mind, let’s check out below the minimum salaries in the European Union (per month), ranked from the highest to the lowest in Net value:
|1. Luxembourg||€2,099 Net|
|2. Netherlands||€1,774 Net|
|3. Ireland||€1,725 Net|
|4. Sweden||€1,500 Net|
|5. Germany||€1,486 Net|
|6. France||€1,350 Net|
|7. Belgium (varies based on regions)||€1,320 Net|
|8. Denmark||€1,300 Net|
|9. Finland||€1,250 Net|
|10. Austria||€1,180 Net|
|11. Spain||€1,090 Net|
|12. Italy||€1,050 Net|
|13. Cyprus||€900 Net|
|14. Portugal||€790 Net|
|15. Slovenia||€780 Net|
|16. Malta||€750 Net|
|17. Greece||€710 Net|
|18. Estonia||€690 Net|
|19. Czechia||€635 Net|
|20. Lithuania||€630 Net|
|21. Poland||€580 Net|
|22. Slovakia||€570 Net|
|23. Croatia||€560 Net|
|24. Latvia||€540 Net|
|25. Hungary||€485 Net|
|26. Romania||€375 Net|
|27. Bulgaria||€310 Net|
Please have in mind that some countries (like Austria, Denmark, Sweden or Italy) don’t have a minimum wage set by law, so I have estimated the minimum earnings.
Now, if we want to see what the average minimum salary across the European Union, after doing the math we have this value in terms of Take Home Pay:
Average minimum salary in European Union: 979 Euros / month
Compared to 2022, the minimum salary across the EU has increased by 72 Euros. This is almost double compared to previous year (35 Euros) and more than the growth in 2021 at 61 Euros.
It’s interesting to note that just 12 countries of the 27 earn more than the average salary throughout the union, making it even more difficult (in my opinion) for all countries to agree upon an identical value for all countries in the EU.
However, this number is just for fun, as it doesn’t really have any value when the lowest minimum salary (Bulgaria) is almost 7 times lower than the maximum minimum salary (Luxembourg).
But knowing the minimum values that I have listed above should be extremely helpful in showing which countries are the cheapest to live in the European Union and where you can expect to earn more for the same amount of work.
This also does not mean that you would be able to live comfortably in Bulgaria with a budget of 310 Euros per month, although in Czechia, €635 per month would start to be relatively OK, especially if you’re sharing costs.
However, as we go up the list, things get a bit easier: for example living in France on a minimum salary gives you a better life than earning the minimum in the bottom 10 countries.
The 1,090 Euros per month in Spain or the 1,050 Euros per month in Italy could also see you live a relatively decent life in those countries as well.
What I am trying to say is that there are many things to consider when it comes to minimum salary in the EU and cost of living and these absolutely minimum values should be looked at considering the big picture and estimates.
There are also talks in the European Union leadership about introducing a minimum wage throughout the entire union, as I told you already, which would help the lower ranked countries.
But with variations as high as those you see above, it’s pretty difficult to implement them right now. If that happens, this article will be a lot easier to write in the future.
I say that because gathering all the data when so many countries are involved was a bit more difficult than anticipated. This is made even more difficult by the fact that not all countries in the European Union have an official minimum wage set by the government.
This is the case of countries like Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden – there is no minimum wage set here by the law, so I had to use estimates for these countries, following research I’ve done on places like Reddit, forums and friends I know living in these countries.
Also, the minimum salaries are changing constantly in the European Union in order to keep up with inflation and economic growth, but these values are researched and correct (in my opinion) for 2023.
Have in mind that the numbers above are all in Euros and are, to my best knowledge, gross salary values (before taxes). Each country will have its own system for taxing salaries and where I found this data, I will also share the net (take home) values.
Also, not all countries in the EU are using the Euro, so these estimates might vary a bit in reality when currency exchange fluctuations are in effect.
But overall, these values should be as close to reality as possible and paint a picture that’s as clear as possible regarding minimum wages in the European Union. They can help you choose a home base in Europe that is perfect for cheap travel in the area.
It is obvious that traveling to or moving to Poland, Hungary or Romania (or any of the countries towards the bottom) is a lot cheaper than visiting or moving to Luxembourg, Denmark or any of the top ranked ones.
To help you make better decisions regarding your future, you know know the minimum monthly salaries in the countries of the European Union.
If you live in one of these countries and you notice that the actual values that I have quoted are wrong, please let me know so that I can correct them ASAP – it’s very, very difficult to gather all the data from official, trustworthy sources and sometimes they are years old!