EESC calls for benchmarks and a common reference framework for income support

The European Economic and Social Committee has recently adopted an opinion on the impact of the reflection paper on the social dimension of the EU and of European Pillar of Social Rights on the future of Europe[1].

The EESC is convinced that delivering on balanced economic growth and social progress should be the guiding principle for the debate on the social dimension of Europe. The Committee wants to see a  clear road map for the implementation of European Pillar of Social Rights with clear assignment of tasks coupled with accountability. Social policy also has to be embedded in a different EU economic policy.

The EESC identified the main areas where it believes action at EU and/or national level is necessary. These include quality jobs, fair working conditions, social protection, social services and minimum income. If the political commitment in the Member States has not led to concrete initiatives implementing the pillar, appropriate measures at EU level, including legal and non-legal initiatives, should be considered. The EESC repeats its demand for a framework directive for a minimum income.

The EESC takes the view that an approach of “deepening the social dimension where possible and focusing more on outcomes” would also support a major driver for more convergence. It therefore supports more binding measures based in the European Semester– with benchmarks, at least for the Eurozone but preferably for the EU-27, related to employment, education, and welfare (for example with a common reference framework for income support for those in need).

[1]SOC/564 – Impact of the social dimension & the European Pillar of Social Rights on the Future of EU, adopted on 19 October 2017

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European Parliament gives strong backing for improved Minimum Income Schemes

The Parliament report on ‘minimum income policies as a tool for fighting poverty’ rapporteur Laura Agea, was adopted in Plenary yesterday with 451 votes in favour, 147 against and 42 abstentions.

Highlights from the report include:

  • The call on all Member States (MS) to upgrade their minimum income schemes so that they ensure a life in dignity to households with insufficient income, support their participation in society and ensure their autonomy across the life cycle
  • That MS should set minimum income schemes above the poverty line, taking into account the Eurostat risk-at-poverty threshold, set at 60% of national median income after social transfers, together with other indicators such as reference budgets
  • Recalls the EESC opinion on a framework directive on minimum income in the EU, which should lay down common rules and indicators, provide methods for monitoring its implementation and improve dialogue between the individuals concerned, the Member States and the EU institutions and calls on the Commission and the Member States, in this regard, to evaluate the manner and the means of providing an adequate minimum income in all Member States;

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Latest developments in relation to Minimum Income

The EMIN context report ‘Developments in relation to Minimum Income Schemes in Europe – 2017’ is now available. This report builds on the data from the national EMIN context reports, as well as on recent data sources at EU level. The Individual National Context Reports can be found under ‘EMIN Publications’ (see above).

The context report includes chapters on:

  • EU Policy Framework on Minimum Income
  • Developments in Minimum Income Schemes across Europe
  • Reference budgets, a promising tool in the fight for decent income standards
  • Basic income: a ‘new’ kid in town
  • Minimum Income and Minimum Wages
  • Minimum Income and Active Inclusion
  • The European Semester and Minimum Income
  • The use of EU funding in support of the fight against poverty

The report will lead to a revised road map for the progressive realisation of adequate, accessible and enabling Minimum Income Schemes.

You can access the report here

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