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
Frédéric Daerden and Pervenche Berès, Invite you to the audition, Minimum income in all Member States – A step forward to a social Europe on 18 March, 3.30pm – 5.30pm (room PHS 1C047). First outcomes from the European Minimum Income Netwrok will be presented. For more information see EMIN Project Event in the EP 18 Mar 2014 FLYER
REGISTRATION: Please register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 13 March. If you don’t have a badge to enter the European Parliament please include in the email your first and last name, date of birth, nationality and ID/passport number. Then on 18 March at 3.00 come to the European Parliament, Spinelli Building, entrance from the Solidarnozsc Esplanade, where you will receive your badge to enter.
Please see here a response to the EMIN draft EU road map from Prof John Veit-Wilson, a sociologist and social policy poverty researcher who has worked and written on the subject of minimum income adequacy for decades. His contribution suggests practicable methods of achieving a better approach to adequacy allowing for national differences and constraints on implementation. Please see the full draft EU road map in a previous entry on this blog. Comments on the road map are very welcome. A second version of the road map should issue in early April.
EAPN Irl led EU Social Standards Project (2007)
This project which was supported by the PROGRESS programme and lead by EAPN Irl, had NGO and Governmental partners from 7 countries. It was one of the first reports to make a case for an EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Income. See the final report of the project here
EU Project Standard Budgets (2009)
The transnational project “Standard Budgets” was also supported by PROGRESS money and aimed to develop and strengthen the instruments that are needed to (better) use Reference Budgets. Under the supervision of Nibud (Austria), national reference budgets were developed in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and Spain, Finland and Germany. Information on this project can be found at www.referencebudgets.eu
EAPN Major Conference in the 2010 Year Against Poverty
As part of EAPNs campaign for adequate minimum income EAPN with EAPN Belgium held a major conference during the 2010 Year against Poverty. Starting from the experiences of people living on a minimum income, the conference engaged in a timely review of the role of minimum income in promoting a better life for all, and review the progress made, in the context of the European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion. The aim was to press for concrete proposals which can ensure an adequate minimum income as a lasting legacy from the 2010 year. A draft framework for an EU directive on Minimum Income including the proposal of a legal base for such a directive was presented. For more info see here
This report brings together the preparation work that was done by the delegations for the 2013 meeting. It is important to note that this work was done on a voluntary basis and the methodology used was very different from country to country. Some drew on existing work, some completed exercise with delegations some worked with particular individuals and NGOs. Therefore while very interesting information can be drawn from this work it is not possible to make direct comparisons between the different country reports. Such a document would require more resources and time to develop. It points to the importance of the work identified in the Social Investment Package to develop common principals and methodologies for the development of Reference Budgets. To feed the exchanges at the 2013 European Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty, National delegations were asked to make preparatory reports on 1) Reference Budgets, 2) Impact of the crisis and 3) Relevant practices.
Access the report here. Comments and reactions on the report are welcome.
Please see the Discussion Paper “EU Roadmap for the progressive realisation of adequate minimum income schemes” (February 2014). This is a work in progress and we would really welcome your comments suggestions before the end of March when a second version will be developed. The final draft version will be discussed at a conference in Brussels on 6 November 2014. You might want to note this date in your diary.
Four key issues emerged from the discussions at the seminar as crucial in developing effective minimum income schemes. These are: defining adequacy and regular uprating of payments, ensuring coverage, addressing non-take-up and integrating minimum income into an active inclusion approach. Building consensus to make progress on these four areas is crucial to the work of the EMIN project.
Drawing conclusions from the seminar, Hugh Frazer Adjunct Professor, National University of Ireland said: “The amount of resources required to establish adequate minimum income schemes is, in the totality of things, quite small. However, it is also clear from what people have said at this seminar that what the EMIN is about is also not a small thing – it is a very big thing. It is about building a fairer, more inclusive, less unequal Europe which guarantees decent and dignified social standards for all. Adequate minimum income schemes are an important step in achieving such a vision and if we do not achieve this vision I fear that we will not much longer have a social Europe and indeed a European Union at all.”
Access the full report of the seminar here
On the 10th December the EESC opinion on minimum income and poverty indicators, an own initiative report (SOC/482) promoted by Mr Dassis (Workers Group II/Greece) with co-rapporteur Mr Boland (Various interests – GR III/Ireland) was approved in the plenary session. EAPN has been actively involved in providing input to the opinion, in two hearings and by written input. The opinion was presented by the EESC in the EMIN seminar in Paris on the 9th October. The opinion includes a call for ‘’ a European framework directive that would extend minimum income schemes to all Member States, improve the adequacy of existing schemes, taking into account national contexts’.. the proposed directive should ‘ set common standards and indicators’ and to examine the funding possibilities for a European Minimum Income in particular setting up an appropriate European Fund’. It builds on the demand made by Committee of the Regions opinion on the European Platform Against Poverty (OJ C 1666, 7.6.2011 p.18). The EESC opinion can be accessed in MS languages at: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.soc-opinions.26780
Access opinion in English EESC Opinion on Minimum Income
The EMIN coordinator in each of the 5 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland and Italy) chosen for an in-depth analysis of their national situations, have produced a national report on the current state of play on minimum income schemes in terms of adequacy, coverage and take-up in their country.
The reports build on the national expertise of EAPN and EMIN partners, with other sources, in particular on the 2009 reports of the national independent experts on social inclusion and their 2013 reports on active inclusion and on recent MISSOC data. The national teams also added value to these data through a bottom-up approach through national consultations.
The reports also identify good and unsatisfactory practices related to adequacy, coverage and take-up of minimum income schemes. Consensus is being sought with relevant actors in order to identify initial practical steps towards progressive realisation of adequate and accessible minimum income schemes in Member States.
This process is still continuing. The identification of relevant steps to be taken will be a key outcome of the dialogue that is taking place with relevant stakeholders.
Based on the experience of developing these reports in the 5 identified countries, reports will be produced in 26 remaining countries (all EU Member States plus Serbia, Iceland, FYROM and Norway). This synthesis report presents some common findings from the 5 pilot countries, but also highlights the differences in the state-of play.
This report will also be used to identify common trends and prepare the ground for the European follow up in terms of proposals on common EU definitions, criteria and possible next steps for further cooperation on the theme at EU level.
See the report here: EMIN-analysis-of-MI-schemes-in-5-countries-Synthesis-Report-November-2013