On the 25th of September, EAPN Portugal organized a national conference to present the main results of the national report and to promote a broad discussion about adequate minimum income schemes. The half day seminar was attended by Bérengére Steppé, a Policy Officer from European Commission that strengthened the support of the Commission to the work that is being developed by EMIN Project and the satisfaction with the results achieved so far. This policy officer stressed that the Commission have high expectations for the recommendations that will come out of the project and how the networks will develop in all the Member States, as they represent an important leverage from the different types of stakeholders to build awareness and ensure the implementation of adequate minimum income schemes. It was also stated the commitment of the Commission with the effort to support the implementation of the active inclusion recommendation by making studies and developing data analysis to support raising awareness on this issue.
The presentation made by Paula Cruz of the main results of the Portuguese study case, was enriched by the presentation of Saviour Grima about the Malta study case. Being two quite different realities, both schemes lack a benefit levels that could be adequate to meet the people’s basic requirements. In the Portuguese case, the minimum income scheme should comprise a negotiated social insertion process that is formalized by an insertion contract. Nonetheless, the insertion process is not well-know and the minimum income scheme is publicly perceived as purely financial support.
The low benefit amount, the stigmatisation of the measure and of its beneficiaries and the low political commitment with minimum income scheme are cornerstone to understand the difficulty in promoting integration process, in Portugal, through minimum income scheme. Given this scenario, the round table promoted with the presence of university researchers, representatives of the two Portuguese trade unions (CGTP-IN and UGT) and a social service provider had its debate focused on the need of creating a public and a political consensus around adequate minimum income schemes.
The conference counted with the presence of national relevant media partners noticing at the next day an important reference at a national newspaper – «Government just keeps RSI because “the European Union will not let it end”».