MEPs call for EU-wide minimum income
- Minimum income schemes should be introduced in all member states
- They should go together with better access to housing, health care and education
- Support for children, unemployed and single-parent households
Introducing minimum schemes in all EU member states is one of the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty, Employment Committee MEPs say.
Most EU countries already have minimum income schemes, but these do not always provide adequate support for those in need. The Employment Committee therefore urges all member states to introduce a minimum income and, if necessary, upgrade existing schemes.
To improve the effectiveness of minimum income schemes, the Employment Committee proposes to:
- set minimum income using the Eurostat at-risk-of-poverty threshold and other indicators
- improve the suitability of the schemes to correspond better to the most vulnerable
- reverse the low rate of take-up among those eligible by raising awareness
Minimum income schemes should combine financial support with easier access to social and public services like housing, health care, education and training. Those that can work should get assistance in gaining access to the labour market, MEPs say.
Rapporteur Laura AGEA (EFDD, IT), said: “Today we do not want only to spark a debate on the issue, but also to oblige the Commission to take a firm stand on it. Poverty and social exclusion do not belong to individual member states, but reflect the state of Europe, which needs to provide answers to this emergency. We propose a twin-track approach: firstly, to curb the social impact of the crisis and secondly, to encourage active employment policies.”
The committee adopted the non-legislative resolution with 36 votes to 7, with 4 abstentions. The full house is expected to vote on the report at the October II part-session.
Almost 120 million people in the EU - some 25% of the EU’s population - are at risk of poverty and social exclusion (data for 2015). Children, women, the unemployed, single-parent households and people with disabilities are considered especially vulnerable groups.
Country-by country information on the evolution of the minimum income schemes in the EU28 is available in the EP study on minimum income policies.
The Parliament already highlighted the importance of adequate minimum income schemes in its January resolution on the European Pillar on Social Rights.
The concept of minimum income is not to be confused with the concept of minimum wage and universal basic income.