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.
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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
Experts argue that European Monetary Union (EMU) has to be completed by ‘automatic fiscal stabilisers’. Welfare states have built-in stabilisers which cushion economic shocks—unemployment benefits, for instance, support the purchasing power of people who lose their jobs and so sustain effective demand. The argument about EMU is that a monetary union needs mechanisms to buttress or complement the automatic stabilisers of its member states. One option would be reinsurance of national unemployment-benefit schemes at the eurozone level.
A survey across European Countries found surprising levels of support for such an initiative. Read more https://www.socialeurope.eu/unemployment-reinsurance
See the latest Newsletter from the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors http://www.socialprotectionfloorscoalition.org/2019/01/gcspf-newsletter-19-january-2019/ This edition outlines policy consideration that the GCSPF believe that the IMF should take account of when preparing its new institutional view on how to address social protection in its work with member countries. The GCSPF also critiques the World bank consistent view that Social Protection is for the ‘poor’ arguing instead in favour of truly universal social protection systems.
This edition also highlights the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Fighting against Poverty and EAPN’s event in the European Parliament, exchanging on the European Anti-Poverty Network’s 2018 Poverty Watch Reports.
Ahead of the next European elections, the Sustainable Equality Report championed by the S&D Group through its Progressive Society initiative makes more than 100 concrete policy proposals aimed to re-empower people, to re-shape capitalism, to re-build social justice, to ensure real social-ecological progress and to radically change the way European economic, social and environmental policies are framed.
Anne Van Lancker, policy coordinator for EMIN, was invited to take part in the development of the report. A decent income guarantee for those whether in or out of work and who have insufficient means of financial support through a European framework directive on adequate minimum income is one of the recommendations in the report
You can access the report here: S&D_ProgressiveSociety-SustainableEquality
An Executive Summary of the publication in five different languages is also available here: https://www.progressivesociety.eu/publication/report-independent-commission-sustainable-equality-2019-2024
The Bus journey “Everyone on the Bus: Nobody deserves less, everybody benefits” was one of the activities held within the framework of ENIM2. The activity’s aim was to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of European Minimum Income Schemes. For two months two buses travelled through 32 European countries. Actions sought to mobilise the general society and public entities to reflect and discuss the importance of ensuring adequate minimum income schemes. The bus was in Porto between 5 and 7 of May and in Lisbon between 8 and 10 of May 2018.
This report gives an account of the activities carried out under this initiative, including free visits to the bus, a seminar on minimum income schemes, four workshops with RSI beneficiaries and two workshops with social works who deal with RSI processes and beneficiaries. .
Read the report and see images here Portugal Report Everyone on the Bus_english version
At the eve of a planned reform of the Austrian system of minimum income, the conference highlighted different perspectives on needs-based minimum income support. The key note speaker analysed the plans. “The cutbacks of minimum income support are mainly for Austrians and also for those who have jobs from which they cannot live,” says Walter Pfeil, Professor of Social Law at the University of Salzburg, in his presentation at the Poverty Conference. “Many proposals for the new regulation of the minimum income protection are probably unconstitutional and contrary to EU law.”, says Pfeil. What he really worried about as a law professor is that here “constitutional principles are trampled on”. The law professor refers to the principle of objectivity and cites the Constitutional Court, which argues with the “securing of a decent life”.
“Social protection is a prerequisite for social investment,” explains Karin Heitzmann, professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Livelihood security is a precondition. “When social protection is cut, the economic returns on social investment are also reduced,” says Heitzmann. There are negative consequences for health, educational opportunities of the children, housing situation or inclusion. “These are also costs,” says the economist. Continue reading