Basic Income: Solution or Conundrum?

What should be the priority amidst competing claims on the ‘gift’ constituted by past technological, economic and social progress. What is needed to best boost the social dimension of the EU?

A new book co-authored by BIEN co-founder Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick VanderborghtBasic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy, published in March 2017 by Harvard University Press makes the case for Basic Income as the appropriate response.

Under the title Basic income in the European Union: a conundrum rather than a solution, Frank Vandenbroucke (University of Amsterdam) has published a critical assessment of the proposals (see article here). He claims that more arguments are needed as to why basic income should be the priority amidst competing claims on the ‘gift’ constituted by past technological, economic and social progress. In his opinion, adequate minimum income protection, unemployment benefits, wage subsidies and access to quality services are more appropriate responses and would better serve the purpose of boosting the social dimension of the European Union.

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Joint Employment Report 2017

The Joint Employment report adopted in March 2017, shows a snapshot of income inequality and poverty developments and of the policy efforts Member States have made to reduce them. The report shows that the highest income inequalities are observed in Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Spain, Latvia and Greece. Romania and Lithuania are also the countries that experienced the highest increase in inequalities.

The highest poverty rates for the working age population are found in Romania, Spain and Greece. The latter country together with Estonia and Bulgaria saw its poverty rates reduced.

According to the report, several countries made efforts to improve coverage and adequacy of social benefits, combined with activation policies.

For more information see Commision-Information-Note-Joint-Employment-Report-2017

European Commission launches consultation package on a European Pillar of Social Rights

Créer un environnement favorable aux entrepreneurs: Réduire les coûts liés à la conduite des affaires et simplifier les formalités administratives08/03/2016 – the European Commission launched a public consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights. EAPN welcomes an initiative that is rooted in a rights-based perspective. From the perspective of the EMIN Network, we welcome that the Communication from the Commission’s notes that Minimum income schemes do not exist in all Member States, as well as current challenges, such as inadequacy of benefit levels making it impossible for beneficiaries to escape poverty, low coverage, and non-take-up. It also points out difficulties with transitioning from unemployment benefits to minimum income. The commitment that “Adequate minimum income benefits shall be ensured for those who lack sufficient resources for a decent standard of living” will be important for the future work of EMIN. Continue reading

EESC should go back to basics and promote European integration, says its President Georges Dassis

Brussels, 13/11/2015 (Agence Europe) – The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) should go back to its primary role, namely expressing the views of civil society and advising the other European institutions on the best ways of encouraging European integration, which could include drawing up a plinth of European social rights, as desired by the European Commission. “We have to have a concrete message.” And what could be more concrete than establishing a minimum European income financed by an EU fund or building a European platform of social rights? he asks. Continue reading

Commissioner Thyssen: A minimum income in every EU country

How can the EU Economic and Monetary Union become more social? was one of the questions answered by the new Commissioner, Marianne Thyssen, in an interview for the Social Agenda magazine. “We should think in terms of minimum standards. For example, having a minimum income in every EU country, based on a reference budget. People are working on that right now. We definitely need a more social economic and monetary union” she answered. The full article can be read on the European Commission’s website: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=737&langId=en&pubId=7733&type=1&furtherPubs=no