The wage of a worker in France is seven times higher than that of his colleague in Bulgaria, indicates data from the European Statistical Office Eurostat last year. After the crisis, however, the gap has become smaller.

The cost of labour is a key factor in the competitiveness that businesses are looking for and often determines the choice of investment destination, according to the French newspaper Figaro. The figures published by Eurostat confirm the large gap between EU countries, although it decreases.

The lowest average labour cost (excluding those working in agriculture or administration) in the EU is in Bulgaria, with €4.90 per hour, followed by Romania with €6.3.

The price of labour in Denmark is ranking on the top, with €42.50 per hour. The average labour price in France is exactly 36 euros per hour.

In 2017, the EU labour price increased by a total of 2.3% in the EU and only by 1.9 per cent in the euro area. In the euro area, the increase in Lithuania has been the highest – by 9 percent. In the countries outside the euro area, the biggest increase in the labour price was achieved by Romania (increase of 17.1 percent) and in Bulgaria (12 per cent).

In January 2018 Bulgaria had the lowest minimum wage in the European Union, respectively 261 Euro, followed by Lithuania with 400 euros and Romania with €408, according to additional Eurostat figures. The Office is publishing information on the amount of the national minimum wage twice a year. This information reflects the situation on 1 January and on 1 July of each relevant year. In 2017, compared to 2008, the minimum wage (expressed in euros) is higher in all EU Member States introducing a national minimum wage, except in Greece, where this figure is 14 per cent lower.

The national minimum wage normally applies to all employees or at least for the majority of employees in the country. It is defined by law, often after consultation with the social partners or through a national cross-sectoral agreement.

Eurostat is a statistical service to the European Commission which collects information on countries in the European Union and harmonises statistical methods for gathering data across Member States. It was established in 1958 to the European Community and at present (acting from 1 April 2017), the Director-General of Eurostat is the Bulgarian Mariana Koceva, who had previously headed the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria.