Last week the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted a very powerful report (rapporteur, Georges Dassis) on the right to a decent minimum income.
Despite economic recovery and decreasing unemployment, poverty still is unacceptably high, says the report. That demonstrates that ‘soft law’ such as the open method of coordination and the European Semester need to be accompanied by more binding legal tools. The EESC urges for the adoption of an EU framework directive taking into account the standard of living in countries, based on a common EU methodology of reference budgets. The report states that nobody should hide behind the subsidiarity principle any more, but that the existing legal bases should be used to realize people’s human rights. This could make action to reinforce the minimum income principle a key priority for implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The report refers to the work of EMIN and EAPN and to the research of the Antwerp University, our partners in EMIN, working on reference budgets”.
For more information see https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/our-work/opinions-information-reports/opinions/european-framework-directive-minimum-income-own-initiative-opinion
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