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MEPs call for EU-wide minimum income

MEPs call for EU-wide minimum income

Photo © Kati Molin - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - Introducing minimum income schemes in all EU Member States is one of the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty, Euro-MPs on the Parliament's Employment Committee said on Thursday.

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.

Most EU countries already have minimum income schemes, but the MEPs say these do not always provide adequate support for those in need. The committee is now urging all EU 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 would 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.

The MEPs say that the committee wanted not 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," said rapporteur Laura Agea MEP: "We propose a twin-track approach: firstly, to curb the social impact of the crisis and secondly, to encourage active employment policies."

Following the committee vote, the full house is expected to vote on the report at the October II part-session.

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 concept of minimum income is not to be confused with the concept of minimum wage and universal basic income.

Further information, European Parliament

Procedure file

EP study: Minimum income policies in EU Member States

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