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;

  • Calls on MS to combat the non-take-up of MIS and requests the Commission and the Social Protection Committee to develop further research and recommendations and guidelines to tackle this problem
  • Stresses that it is vital for all those in need to have access to sufficient minimum income schemes to be able to meet their basic requirements, including for the most excluded such as homeless people
  • The call on Commission and MS to better use ESF and EaSI to help to improve the functioning of existing systems
  • Stresses the importance of the European Semester in monitoring the adequacy of minimum income schemes and their impact on poverty reduction

The Report was weakened by the deletion of the section which called on “the Commission and Member to consider setting-up a European Fund on a temporary basis to help Member States with financial difficulties” and a section which explicitly stated that “it is legally possible to have a framework directive”.

The final report adopted and the list of which MEPs voted for which sections and for the revised report as amended should be available in the coming days.

Commissioner Thyssen who was present in Strasbourg said that addressing social inequalities is key role of the EU Semester and the Pillar on Social Rights and that the Commission is working with MS on benchmarking of minimum income schemes and promoting exchange of good practices.


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