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Green European Foundation Workshop 22nd February 2013 Achieving an Adequate Minimum Income in Europe Sian Jones, EAPN Policy Coordinator.

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Presentation on theme: "Green European Foundation Workshop 22nd February 2013 Achieving an Adequate Minimum Income in Europe Sian Jones, EAPN Policy Coordinator."— Presentation transcript:

1 Green European Foundation Workshop 22nd February 2013 Achieving an Adequate Minimum Income in Europe Sian Jones, EAPN Policy Coordinator

2 Outline  Who is EAPN?  Why adequate minimum income is vital?  What progress in the EU?  Better Practices in MS  Towards an EU Framework

3 Who is EAPN?  Independent EU Network of NGOs committed to fight against poverty and social exclusion, with and for people in poverty.  Started in 1990 – key actor in poverty programmes and development of social OMC.  Receives financial support from the European Commission (PROGRESS)  30 National Networks and 23 European NGOs as members.  Participation of people with direct experience of poverty must be part of the solution.

4 What is Minimum Income?  Social Assistance schemes of last resort providing basic income security for people who cannot work or access a decent job  Normally non-contributory – ie do not rely on contributions from wages/insurance but are paid out of general taxation  Cash benefits but variation on overlap with contributory schemes and access to key services – eg housing benefits.  Exist in all EU MS – no national schemes in Italy, Greece and partial in Hungary  Big variation in their adequacy and coverage

5 Why is Minimum Income Vital?  Adequate income for a dignified life is a Fundamental Right  Provides the means/security/ to participate in work and society, confidence to plan for the future  Ensures a positive hierarchy for decent wages  A key tool to eradicate poverty – now 120 million people and growing (EU), MS with better MI/SP have lower poverty rates.  Operates as an automatic stabiliser – provides an essential floor for consumption/economy  Key pillar of the European Social Model - foundation for a fairer, more cohesive society

6 Why an Adequate Minimum Income?  Sufficient to lead a life in dignity and to cover essential needs fixed in line with living standards of different households,  Supplementary amounts for specific needs – eg children, housing, energy costs.  EP Resolution recommends relative benchmark – at risk of poverty /60% of household income.  Standard Budgets approach: eg Joseph Rowntree: establishes a weekly budget for a variety of different types of families :

7 A budget standard for a decent life: UK example  2008/2009 - Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) research establishes a UK standard budget for a decent life  Based on a consensual methodology based on 39 focus groups involving different household types and including people in poverty/ validised by experts.  Needs assessment to provide a weekly budget including : food, clothes, accomodation, utilities, fuel, houshold goods, personal goods and services, transport, social and cultural activities.  2008 Conclusions: current UK income support ( ie MI) only covers 42% of an acceptable budget  See  See European Consumer Debt Network:

8 EU/UN support for MI as a Fundamental Right  UN Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25)  CoE Social Charter (Article 13)  Council Recommendation 92/441/EEC – June 92 – “ right to sufficient resources and social assistance to live in a manner compatible with human dignity ”  2008 Commission Recommendation to promote active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market – 3 pillars – 1) adequate income support, 2) inclusive labour markets and 3) access to quality services.  2010 European Parliament Report on Minimum Income adopted in October – Figuereido (GUE)  Charter of Fundamental Rights Article 34

9  Social Protection Floor – ILO Recommendation, 2012  Article 5, states that social protection floors should comprise the following basic social security guarantees a)Access to nationally defined goods and services… essential healthcare….meets criteria of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality. b)Basic income security for children, at least to a nationally defined minimum level, providing access to nutrition, education, care and other necessary goods and services c)Basic income security, at least to a nationally defined minimum level, for persons in active age who are unable to earn a sufficient income, d)Basic income security, at least to a nationally defined minimum level, for older persons. Beyond EU: ILO Social Protection Floor

10 An Adequate Minimum Income – What progress in the EU?  Independent Experts Synthesis Report Oct 2008 highlights: –Most MS have some minimum income scheme (not IT, EE,) Hungary recently introduced. –But most are not adequate ie do not cover basic needs or take people above poverty threshold (60% median income) –Major difficulties with take-up (40-80% - OECD) – Inadequate mechanisms to ensure coverage and to all groups/ and update. – Negative hierarchy - minimum income/minimum wage. – Inadequate integrated Active Inclusion – particularly access to services

11 What way forward? : Independent Experts Recommendations  Need for common criteria to define minimum income and adequacy  National debate/agreement on what level of adequate income acceptable (relative context)  Interim step : goal of setting level at 60% threshold in line with EP Resolution (92/441/EEC)  Usefulness of Standard Budget/basket of goods and services approach  Adopt an EU framework directive, incorporating common criteria.

12 Way Forward? Independent Experts Recommendations (2)  Set in place effective uprating  Simplify MI systems to ensure comprehensive coverage and take up by specific target groups – eg homeless, migrants/Roma etc.  Monitor non-take up and discrimination and develop strategies to increase take-up  Link 3 pillars of Active Inclusion – particularly ensuring people on minimum income get access to quality services – “at least as important as use of financial incentives and sanctions”.

13 National example 1: Belgium  Right to social integration formalized 2002 replacing previous subsistence minimum – 725 eu  Social Integration benefit supplemented with other social assistance benefits  Pathways to employment or any other forms of inclusion, intrinsic part of benefit approach  Anti Poverty Plan adopted in 2008 - objective 1) an income allowing people to plan their future  Beginning of crisis, BE increased SA benefits (+2% MI ) + prevented increase in poverty.

14 National example 2: Austria  New National Social Assistance scheme introduced in 2010, providing better minimum income standards covering hsg/ living costs.  Aims to improve very low take up rate. (50%)  Standardised regulations for minimum income – requirements, levels, procedural law.  Inclusion of all recipients in health insurance  Increased conditionality – reduction of MI if person considered not willing to work,  Still below poverty line/problems stigmatization

15 National example 3: Ireland  Complex system of MI provision with 20 different programmes for different target groups.  During boom, rates uprated regularly and was one of few MI rates which was over the poverty threshold – now 849 E uros pm.  Overall trend in Ireland to support minimum income recipients with personalized employment and training programmes – through case management approach – ie active inclusion approach.

16 National Example 4: Basque Country/ Spain  Developed first comprehensive plan to combat poverty in Spain  In 1989 established 1 st Minimum Income Guarantee, underpinned by the Exclusion Action based on subjective rights  In 2009, MI in Basque country accounted for 38.4% of minimum income in Spain, and contributed to reducing poverty rates faster.  Fully compatible to employment growth and defence against UE - in 2010, Basque UE rate 9.1 points below ES average.

17 Next Steps: EU level  Build support for an EU Framework Directive to guarantee equal access to an adequate Minimum Income : - Guarantee relative minimum standard at least at poverty threshold (60% median income) –Agree common definition and criteria for adequacy –Develop common indicators –Agree principles of common methodology to develop national standards of goods and services, based on participative standard budget method. –Common EU monitoring framework/through Social OMC/ linked to Europe 2020 –Linked to Integrated Active Inclusion Approach.

18 EU Framework Directive – What legal base? Impact of Lisbon Treaty and CFR  Stronger commitment to social rights (Charter of FR) but adds no new competences. - Article 1: Human dignity is inviolable, it must be protected and respected - Article 34/3 – Recognizes the right to social and housing assistance so as to ensure a decent existence for all those who lack sufficient resources. - New Horizontal Social Clause (Art 9 TFEU) “in defining and implementing its policies and activities, the union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion and a high level of education, training, and protection of human health” - TEU Article 3/3 – EU objectives: it shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, promote social justice and protection

19 EU Framework Directive – what EU legal base?  TFEU Article 151 ” Union and MS having in mind fundamental social rights….shall have as their objectives the promotion of employment, improved living and working conditions, so at to make possible their harmonisation… proper social protection, dialogue between management and labour, the development of human resources with a view to lasting high employment and the combating of exclusion.  TFEU Article 153,– The Union shall support and complement the activities – social protection.  TFEU Article 153 1h and 2 b – agrees means of directives and minimum requirements for gradual implementation – but refer to integration of people excluded from labour market.  Advantages: co-decision and qualified majority but agreeing minimum levels ( Art 153, 1c) needs unanimity.

20 Minimum Income Framework Directive – EAPN Action  EAPN Minimum Income campaign  2010 EU Year against poverty – core demand of NGO coalition :  EAPN legal advice Framework Directive (June 2010)  Adequacy of Minimum Income Explainer and leaflet  Lobbying campaign with EP, EESC, CoR, COM, TU  EP Hearing with Greens and GUE report  Joint work with Belgian Presidency and EU conference  Peer Review on standard budgets and Annual Convention workshop  Lobbying on active inclusion recommendation in SIP to get follow up on adequacy/EU framework.

21 EU Framework for Minimum Income – Increasing support?  EP Reports and Resolution on Active Inclusion and Minimum Income (2008 and 2010) support adequate minimum income and impact study by Commission.  CoR report on European Platform Against Poverty (April 2011) – supports framework directive  EESC report on European Platform against poverty supports EP Position – potential new opinion on minimum income and poverty.  ETUC resolution supporting EU minimum income ( May 2011) but falls short of supporting a directive.  Peer Review on Reference Budgets for drawing up requirements of a minimum income scheme and assessing adequacy. (Nov 2010)  European Commission : As part of European Platform Against Poverty, now part of SIP, Active Inclusion implementation – focus on take up and coverage, and developing common methodology on adequacy through standard budgets.  European Council considering EU Unemployment Fund

22 Social Investment Package – Proposals on Minimum Income  SIP package published on 20 th Feb 2012 8 reps including AI implementation reportSIP package  Increase sustainability and adequacy social systems – simplification/targetting  Develop common methodology for Reference budgets for MI, part of integrated Active Inclusion  But worrying focus on conditionality and temporary nature

23 EC Project: Minimum Income Network  EC funded-EP proposal – 2 years.  Raise awareness and implementation of on 92 Recommendation/AI Rec  EU network : Assess trends, obstacles, concrete progress at national and EU level.  Partners : EAPN, BE Govt, OSE, ETUI : BE, IT,IE, DK, HU, 25 EAPN networks  EU Advisory group with EP – all groups.

24 Conclusions  Adequate Minimum Income crucial for Social Europe and Inclusive Recovery.  Growing recognition of key role to drive up living/minimum wages  Concrete example of EU social standards to support demands for More EU  An EU Framework Directive is viable – can we build support together?

25 Working together for: An Adequate Income for a Dignified Life! For More Information Contact Sian Jones, Policy Coordinator 0032 2 226 5859 Square de Meeus 18, 1050 Brussels See: and

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