EMIN launches its latest report in European Parliament

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.

Key Messages from the EMIN Bus Awareness Raising Tour:

  • The need to build Minimum Income schemes based on trusting people needing access to Minimum Income support and aimed at enabling them to access the right to adequate income as proclaimed in the European Pillar of Social Rights.
  • The need to defend the social protection systems we have, knowing that without them the numbers of people in poverty in Europe would be two to four times higher.
  • The need to recognise that the situation is intolerable in many countries and needs an urgent response
  • The need to ensure that Decent Minimum Income Schemes are part of a wider package of good quality social protection and high level social standards
  • That Increased conditionality and ‘workfare’ in order to receive Minimum Income are having perverse effects, creating stress and anxiety for minimum income recipients and undermining what should be the goal of minimum income to lift people out of poverty and enable them to be active in society.
  • That the resilience and energy of people experiencing poverty and the groups and associations where they participate need to be supported and engaged to find the right solutions to deliver minimum income schemes that enable people to live in dignity.

Key Messages of the renewed EU Roadmap 

Maintain and build further a public campaign to advocate for decent Minimum Income Schemes across Europe, based on the fact that these don’t only profit for people who need them, but also for the whole of society, showing the social, economic and other costs of not ensuring adequate income.

Ensure monitoring and implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, including the right to a decent minimum income, by transforming the European Semester into a European Semester for Sustainable Development, underpinned by the sustainable development goals, with social and environmental objectives on a par with economic goals. Tangible benchmarks should be used to assess countries performance on adequate, accessible and enabling Minimum Income Schemes in the framework of integrated active inclusion strategies, resulting in Country Specific Recommendations;

European funds should be used to support attainment of the social right to a decent minimum income; the partnership with civil society organisation should be fully exploited and resourced.

In the post Europe 2020 strategy, a new more ambitious poverty target should be established based on a common percentage for all Member States as part of a progressive realisation of poverty reduction, monitored through the Semester.

If after thorough evaluation of the Europe 2020 strategy, the poverty target would prove to be insufficiently attained, a European framework directive should be developed to translate the right to a decent minimum income into a legally binding commitment for all Member States, based on common definitions of adequacy, common efforts to improve access and reduce non-take-up, and ensuring a coherent active inclusion approach, combining adequate income support, access to inclusive labour markets and to quality services that support people to participate in society.

Guaranteed minimum income benefits constitute the basic income floor for decent income for all. The right to adequate, accessible and enabling minimum income benefits should be part of more comprehensive social protections floors in the EU Member States. They should also include a floor for decent minimum wages. The upcoming German Presidency of the European Council during the second half of 2020, promoting basic social protection systems in all Member States, will present an excellent opportunity to continue this campaign.

In line with the principle in the European Pillar of Social Rights, that there is a need to create a more solid environment to ensure continuous commitment to the creation of ‘adequate minimum income benefits ensuring a life in dignity’. The European Commission should consider investing in a continuation of a cross-sectoral minimum income network such as EMIN while ensuring support for the functioning of a network of National Public Authorities responsible for Minimum Income Schemes and for the European Network of researchers on Reference Budgets. Consideration should also be given to the establishment of a European Observatory on Minimum Income which would support, monitor and regularly report on the developments in relation to Minimum Income Schemes.

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