This Caritas Europa newsletter focuses on the need for an adequate minimum income as an essential element in a strategy to eradicate poverty and promote social justice. It includes an article from Anne Van Lancker, EMIN policy coordinator.
It marks 20 February UN World Day of Social Justice, which recognises the need to eradicate poverty and to promote access to social well-being and justice for all. It is essential for people with insufficient financial means and for the society they live in, that they can access adequate Minimum Income to enable them to escape poverty and to live in dignity. The newsletter argues this case.
Access the newsletter here
The European Minimum Income Network (EMIN) launched its latest report in the European Parliament today (19 February), at an event hosted by Jean Lambert, MEP (Greens), with the participation of Georgi Pirinski MEP (Social and Democrats) and Enrique Calvet Chambon MEP (ALDE). The Report outlines key activities and developments in relation to Minimum Income in Europe in the period 2017-2018 as well as recommendations coming from the work of EMIN in this period. You can access the full report at EMIN2-EU-final-Report-Jan_2018
For EMIN to consider Minimum Income Schemes decent, they must be adequate, accessible and enabling. The report, based on 3 Peer Reviews organised by EMIN in this period, presents definitions and information on what is meant by these concepts and presents recommendations on how progress could be made towards decent minimum income schemes.
The report also provides information from the organisation of a European Bus Awareness Raising Tour, across 32 countries, with over 25,000km covered and more than 120 programmes delivered.
Finally, the report presents a revised EU road map to ensure progress in relation to decent Minimum Income Schemes.
Bea Cantillon drawing on the many studies of the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp on poverty and social policy, puts forward 10 arguments for prioritizing adequate minimum incomes as a follow up to the European institutions solemnly proclaimed European Pillar of Social Rights (Nov 2017). The Pillar initiative which aimed to redress the subordination of the ‘social element’ of the EU to economic imperatives opens up the opportunity to establish adequate social floors in European nations, she argues. The paper also suggest concrete steps on how to achieve this prioritization.
Read the paper 10_Arguments_For Prioritising_Minimum-Incomes_as_a_follow_up_to_the_Social_Pillar_Bea_Cantillon_ AntwerpUniversity_WorkingPaper_Jan2019
The experiment was begun on 1 January 2017 and ended on 31 December 2018. In the experiment, 2000 randomly selected unemployed persons were paid a monthly tax-exempt basic income of 560 euros regardless of any other income they may have had or whether they were actively looking for work. The recipients of a basic income were selected through random sampling among those who in November 2016 received an unemployment benefit from Kela (an independent social security institution). The control group consisted of those who in November 2016 received an unemployment benefit from Kela but were not selected for the experiment.
The evaluation of the experiment studies the effects of the basic income on the employment status and income and wellbeing of the participants. The provisional findings, found that the basic income experiment did not increase the employment level of the participants in the first year of the experiment. The employment register data is available with a one year delay, which means that the results for the second year of the experiment will be published in the first months of 2020. However, at the end of the experiment the recipients of a basic income perceived their wellbeing as being better than did those in the control group. ‘The recipients of a basic income had less stress symptoms as well as less difficulties to concentrate and less health problems than the control group. They were also more confident in their future and in their ability to influence societal issues’, according to Minna Ylikännö, Lead Researcher at Kela.
For more information see https://www.kela.fi/web/en/news-archive/-/asset_publisher/lN08GY2nIrZo/content/preliminary-results-of-the-basic-income-experiment-self-perceived-wellbeing-improved-during-the-first-year-no-effects-on-employment
Experts argue that European Monetary Union (EMU) has to be completed by ‘automatic fiscal stabilisers’. Welfare states have built-in stabilisers which cushion economic shocks—unemployment benefits, for instance, support the purchasing power of people who lose their jobs and so sustain effective demand. The argument about EMU is that a monetary union needs mechanisms to buttress or complement the automatic stabilisers of its member states. One option would be reinsurance of national unemployment-benefit schemes at the eurozone level.
A survey across European Countries found surprising levels of support for such an initiative. Read more https://www.socialeurope.eu/unemployment-reinsurance
See the latest Newsletter from the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors http://www.socialprotectionfloorscoalition.org/2019/01/gcspf-newsletter-19-january-2019/ This edition outlines policy consideration that the GCSPF believe that the IMF should take account of when preparing its new institutional view on how to address social protection in its work with member countries. The GCSPF also critiques the World bank consistent view that Social Protection is for the ‘poor’ arguing instead in favour of truly universal social protection systems.
This edition also highlights the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Fighting against Poverty and EAPN’s event in the European Parliament, exchanging on the European Anti-Poverty Network’s 2018 Poverty Watch Reports.
The Peer Review (Nov 2018) provided the opportunity to discuss and exchange information on how minimum income benefits are set and provided in different European countries. The event was hosted by the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and brought together government representatives and independent experts, as well as a representative of the European Minimum Income Network and the European Commission.
The participating countries also discussed the key characteristics, including similar challenges faced by the different schemes and explored what common features could be used for a framework of minimum income schemes at European level.
A short report of the Peer Review and the papers presented can be accessed here