EPC Debate: ‘Universal Basic Income versus a European Minimum Income: finding the best answer to Europe’s social challenges.’

At this head-to-head debate, organised by the European Policy Centre, speakers discussed these two ways of guaranteeing social protection and addressing the growing social challenges of today. Yannick Vanderborght, Professor of Political Science at Université Saint Louis and member of the BIEN board, defended the reasons why basic income is a good solution to avoid arbitrary distinctions between deserving and non-deserving poor, avoid stigma and shame that cause non-take-up, whilst at the same time avoiding poverty traps. Anne Van Lancker, EMIN policy coordinator, explained what adequate, accessible and enabling minimum income schemes could bring, not just to the people who need them, but to the whole of society. She made it clear that EMIN seeks to progressively change existing poor, conditioned and punitive systems into universally accessible income support as an essential element of social protection floors, that must ensure access to basic income security for all over the life cycle. She stressed that, when allocating public resources, priority should be given to systems that respect ‘progressive universalism’, ensuring universal rights whilst at the same time granting more help to people who really need it. It is clear that basic income scenarios require a lot more funding than lifting minimum income systems above the poverty threshold.

The debate showed clearly that, despite the difference between both proposals, there are also many common approaches to the issue of income security. Conclusions seem to be that on eliminating conditionality and ensuring individual rights, both proposals show more common ground than expected. Therefore, Anne expressed the wish to cooperate more closely between the two networks, to engage in discussions on new ways of looking at poverty eradication, quality of work and social protection and redistribution of income.

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13 Spanish MEP address Mr Juncker on his promises on Minimum Income

European Commission President Juncker addresses the European Parliament to present a plan on growth, jobs and investment in Strasbourg04/12/2014 – 13 Spanish MEP sent a joint letter to President of the European Commission Mr Juncker on Minimum Income and presented a parliamentary question, asking Mr. Juncker to comply with his promises on this matter. Continue reading

EESC opinion on Minimum Income calls for a European Framework Directive

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