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.
The Peer Review (Nov 2018) provided the opportunity to discuss and exchange information on how minimum income benefits are set and provided in different European countries. The event was hosted by the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and brought together government representatives and independent experts, as well as a representative of the European Minimum Income Network and the European Commission.
The participating countries also discussed the key characteristics, including similar challenges faced by the different schemes and explored what common features could be used for a framework of minimum income schemes at European level.
A short report of the Peer Review and the papers presented can be accessed here
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
The Hague, House of Europe, 4th of October 2018
Under the title ‘Minimum wage and poverty, hand in hand?’ EMIN Netherlands organised a well-attended conference in the House of Europe in Den Hague on 4 October. EMIN project leader Jo Bothmer explained in his welcome that this means that incomes from the Participation Act, the State Pension Act and the Survivor Act need to be increased by at least 5% extra in order to guarantee a dignified life. There are groups in society, such as the growing group of the working poor (340.000) that cannot survive because of the low level of income and existing social problems.
Anne Van Lancker, EMIN policy coordinator, presented the state-of-play of the EMIN project. Even when all EU countries now have a minimum income system, differences are big, as well in terms of design, eligibility, levels of payment, coverage and take-up. Only a few countries have adequate minimum income schemes. Often 20-75% of the potential beneficiaries has no access to the schemes due to strict conditions. Anne advocates to create social protections floors, including decent minimum income, to avoid the income levels to gradually fall below poverty levels. She explains what EMIN has done to contribute to that objective. With the slogan ‘Many voices make the choir strong!’, she makes it clear that European citizens can act together forcefully to advocate the need for an adequate minimum income with their government. Continue reading