The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) release a new report on Social Protection. ITUC describes social protection as “essential for social justice and inclusion, strong democracies, equitable growth and resilience during crises”. The report gives an overview of social protection and social assistance – looking at minimum income in a global context and linking it to the inequality debate. Access the report ITUC Frontlines April 2014 Social Protection – A key to a fair society
The Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs that will take place in Athens, Greece, on April 29-30, will discuss “Economic recovery and social policies: the role of minimum income schemes”. The Social Platform will have a delegation who will meet with the Ministers to exchange on this topic.
The position paper prepared by the Social Platform for this meeting draws on the work of EAPN and the EMIN project and calls on all member states to put in place adequate minimum income schemes that are accessible for all that need them. The right to an adequate minimum income should be recognised as a fundamental right and should enable people to live a life in dignity, support their full participation in society and ensure their independence across the life cycle. The Platform position states that to achieve a level playing field across Europe, an EU framework directive on Adequate Minimum Income Schemes should be adopted that establishes common principles, definitions of adequacy, and methods.
Please use your contacts and networks to draw attention to this important discussion.
See the full Platform contribution here: Social Platform Contribution_informal EPSCO_Greece
This Friends of Europe background report, entitled ‘A European Social Union: 10 tough nuts to crack’ is intended as a stimulus to widen the debate about the European Union’s social policy options once a new European Commission and European Parliament are in place, and is a basis for discussion by the 30 or so senior experts who make up the Friends of Europe Social Europe High-Level Group. This High-Level Group of authoritative and representative voices is comprised of social partners, independent experts and high profile political actors.
The report is authored by Frank Vandenbroucke, chair of Friends of Europe’s High-Level Group. It is published as his personal view of the social challenges that confront the EU, and their possible solutions. Frank Vandenbroucke served as Belgium’s former Minister for Employment, Pensions and Social Affairs and as Deputy Prime Minister. Frank is now a Professor at the Universities of Leuven, Antwerp and Amsterdam. Bart Vanhercke, co-author of the report, is Director of the European Social Observatory (OSE) and affiliated at the University of Leuven.
One of the 10 tough nuts to crack is dentified as Increasing the effectiveness of minimum income protection by EU initiatives?
Access the report here: A European Social Union – 10 tough nuts to crack
On Thursday 3 April the Commission organised, with the presence of the Greek Presidency of the European Council, an important conference on Minimum Income Schemes under the title “Addressing Social Divergence in European Societies – Improving Minimum Income Supports”. The Conference had important presentations on the developments with Minimum Income Schemes in Greece, Romania, Cyprus, Barcelona, France, Netherlands and Latvia. Reflections were also made on the role of Business and presentations were given from relevant projects and reflections in the academic community. To know more about the Conference see http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=88&eventsId=982&furtherEvents=yes
Mr Micel Servoz, the new Director General of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in his presentation on a way forward on Minimum Income Schemes stressed the importance of ensuring that the topic is treated as part of the Europe 2020 strategy. Fintan Farrell, Coordinator of the EMIN project, presented the road map emerging form the project on the progressive realisation of adequate Minimum Income Schemes. See his input here EMIN Input Commission Conference 3 April 2014
Please see attached the year 1 report (2013) from the Italian Minimum Income Network. Italy remains one of the few European Union countries without a National framework for Minimum Income Schemes. However the report tells of many new initiatives to change this situation. One of the most important of such initiatives is the one that saw the engagement of more than 170 social organisations and associations that collected more than 50,000 signatures throughout Italy, asking for the approval of the citizens’ legislative initiative for a universal guaranteed minimum income. The proposal was elaborated and promoted by the Campaign’s promoters, CILAP – EAPN Italia included, and was delivered to the President of the House of Representatives in order to be discussed in the Parliament. The report also outlines draft laws submitted by: SEL (Left Ecology and Freedom – left); PD (Democratic Party – center-left); Movimento 5 Stelle (Movement 5 Stars – independent). The developments and evolution of regional schemes are also highlighted. The Italian EMIN Network will work to try to ensure that these Spring shoots develop into fully fledged adequate Minimum Income Schemes. Read the EMIN Italy Report 2013
Brussels, 19 March 2014 – Yesterday, the European Minimum Income Network (EMIN) a two-year project led by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), presented its first results on how to ensure adequate minimum income schemes in all EU Member States, at an event in the European Parliament organised by MEPs, Frédéric Daerden and Pervenche Berès from the Socialists and Democrats Group. Millions of Europeans should know that it is possible that EU Member States could cooperate, through a European Directive, to ensure the progressive realization of adequate Minimum Income Schemes in every EU country. The EMIN project shows growing support for such a directive.
Ms Berès, who is also chair of the Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee, spoke about the possibility of an EU Directive as “an exciting development that needs to be part of the discussions in the European Election campaigns and which should be brought quickly on the agenda of the newly elected Parliament”.
“The position taken by National Governments, by Political Groups in the Parliament and National Political Parties, by the EU Institutions, to support or to block this development is information that all EU citizens should have”, added Fintan Farrell, coordinator of the EMIN project.
All major political Groups in the European Parliament were invited to participate and the following Groups responded and made interventions: Marian Harkin (ALDE – Liberal Group), Elisabeth Schroedter (Green Group) and Gabrielle Zimmer (GUE – United European Left Group).
What are Adequate Minimum Income Schemes?
- Minimum Income Schemes: “income support schemes which provide a safety net for those who cannot work or access a decent job and are not eligible for social security payments or whose entitlements have expired”
- Adequate Minimum Income: income that is indispensable to live a life in dignity and to fully participate in society
What do Adequate Minimum Income schemes bring to society?
- Ensure that people who need to receive them can remain active in the society, help them reconnect to the world of work and allows them to live in dignity.
- Are good for the whole of the society as they are indispensable for more equal societies and more equal societies are better for everyone.
- As the base for high-level social protection systems act as ‘economic stabilisers’, as was demonstrated with the countries with high-level social protection systems being best able to resist the negative impacts of the crisis.
- Are a very small percentage of the Government’s social spending and represent a huge return on the investment as the cost of non-investment has enormous immediate impacts for the individuals concerned and long term costs for the society.
- Must ensure a positive hierarchy with minimum wages and thus help to reverse the destructive trend of rising numbers of working poor in Europe.
For further Information:
- Follow the European Minimum Income Network (EMIN) and see the outputs and follow the work of the project http://emin-eu.net. This blog also has easy access to useful related documents, facts and figures. The hashtag for EMIN tweets is #eminetwork.
- Contacts for EMIN, Fintan Farrell, Project Manager Fintan.firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne Van Lancker, Project Policy Coordinator email@example.com
- Contact any of the Partners of the EMIN project (further contact details on the EMIN blog):
The Year One (2013) report from the Danish Minimum Income Netwrok is now public. In the report you find a wealth of information about developments in relation to Minimum Income Schemes in Denmark.
The Report shows that the trends are leading in one direction, away from classical Danish and Nordic social welfare based on equality and solidarity to something else. It also shows that within the population there is still a very strong attachment to the Danish Welfare model. What the ‘something else’ that is driving the changes and underpins the new ‘model’ has become a question, which is very important to answer. The aim of the study is therefore not only to describe on-going developments, but also to contribute answers to where the developments should go in the future. Access full Report here: Danish EMIN – Year 1 Report 2013 – final