Information from Jo Bothmer, EAPN Netherlands
In the Netherlands the DSS of the City of Utrecht, and it looks like the city of Tilburg as well, wants to set up an experiment with, what in the press is called, a Basic Income. Aim is to simplify the regulations for social assistance for certain groups. There will be 3 different groups within this experiment. One will get different, new, ruling. One will get less ruling and one group will have no rules at all. The last group is seen as the group with a Basic Income. But the experiment is however not about the Basic Income. It is meant to see which approach is the most successful.
This experiment is done under the new Participation law, in which those who ask for or already have social assistance are meant to go for a quid pro quo. The service in return for income should be voluntary work or helping neighbours who need special care. You may be also ‘forced’ into a ‘project’ for this quid pro quo.
The fact that municipalities start this kind of Basic Income experiments puts the idea of the BI in the middle of the discussion. EAPN NL is a member of the working group “Poverty and Social Exclusion” of the 35 cities with over 100.000 inhabitants. So we take part in the discussion. We brought in two things which we felt that should be taken into account:
- what definition is used for Basic Income? We see how each group uses it own definition.
- The fact that EMIN exist and offers a lot of information about minimum income.
Seen the overwhelming reactions, Utrecht has made very clear in a statement, which was published yesterday, that their experiment can be called a Basic Income, but that this is not what the experiment is about.
We are looking forward how this develops further.
Access article on EMIN in Katoikos at the following link: http://www.katoikos.eu/highlights/the-challenges-of-adequate-minimum-income-in-europe.html
The goal of Katoikos is to reach normal citizens across Europe, get them interested in European affairs in the largest possible sense, and encourage them/you to engage in horizontal dialogue. Thrie goal is also to help fellow EU citizens and ourselves develop opinions on European issues that we often do not know much about, although we should and we must, because they impact our lives.
The results of the EMIN project were presented at the Conference of the European Social Insurance Platform. Over 130 people took part in the Conference. The outcomes were presented by EMIN coordinator, Fintan Farrell as part of a panel on ‘Future Perspectives for the EU”. The other contributors to the panel were Frank Vandenbroucke, Professor of Economics, University of Leuven who spoke on the social dimension of the EU and former Commissioner Laszlo Andor who presented the need for an EU Unemployment Insurance scheme. All the presentations can be downloaded from the ESIP website at: http://www.esip.eu/index.php?q=node/1645
Following a discussion of the college of Commissioners on ‘Policy Orientations for a Social Europe’ in Strasbourg yesterday, Commissioner Thyssen included the following statement in the Press Conference that followed:
“Our social protection systems need to remain sustainable for the future. I believe that upwards social convergence is the key to achieve this. We can encourage gradual convergence by establishing minimum standards, expressed in benchmarks. These can cover for example the duration and level of unemployment benefits, minimum income or access to child care or basic health care. I believe the European Semester would be the appropriate instrument to monitor its application”.
This gives a positive orientation for the follow up from the EMIN project.
The Council of Europe at a recent meeting in Chisinau, Moldova, discussed the need for a citizen income. The debate supported the need for an adequate minimum living income as a means of protecting human dignity and autonomy. The Rapporteur for the report is Ms Nunzia CATALFO, from Italy. Fintan Farrell, Project Coordinator EMIN, presented the results of the EMIN project. See Fintan’s presentation here
Young, Jobless and European – BBC World Service Interview – ‘I’m pretty worried about the social legacy of the financial crisis, especially since young people have been hit very hard’. OSE Director Bart Vanhercke sets out his views in a live interview with Tanya Beckett on the BBC World Service’s ‘Business Daily’ programme. The interview discusses Europe’s austerity catastrophe as well as the need for a binding EU framework on minimum income protection and the frightening lack of urgency among policymakers. Continue reading
06/05/2015 – EMIN (Anne Van Lancker) and EAPN (Fintan Farrell) took part in radio debate on minimum wages in Europe with several MEPs and EESC officials. It was an opportunity to say that not only is a minimum wage important but the level that the minimum wages is set at is also key and that the EU needs to play a role to ensure an upwards convergence in the levels of minimum wage to ensure that all people in employment can have access to decent pay as part of quality jobs. Continue reading