Aspiring to ensure a Europe that is fair and inclusive for all, the European Union launched the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan last year. Within the Action Plan, Principle 14 ensures that those lacking sufficient resources have the right to adequate minimum income benefits and access to enabling goods and services. To accomplish this, the Action Plan presented the Minimum Income Council Recommendation to be adapted in 2022.
Recently, based on the direct experience of our members, Eurodiaconia submitted feedback to the Commission to influence the Council Recommendation. Our feedback consists of a brief input where we summarise our main calls, complemented by our latest policy paper on this topic.
Concretely, we call on the Commission to:
- – Prioritise person-centred, empowering, and life cycle approaches;
- – Foster the integration of minimum income schemes with social services provision to support social inclusion;
- – Providing a definition of “adequacy”, using national at-risk-of-poverty thresholds (AROP) stipulating that people falling below 60% of the national median income are at risk of poverty;
- – Include non-discriminatory eligibility criteria and the avoidance of conditionalities so as to not exclude disadvantaged groups from benefiting from minimum income schemes.
Finally, while we welcome this initiative, leaving the design of minimum income to Member States has yet to facilitate the drastic change needed for everyone to live free of poverty. Thus, once more we recommend that the Council Recommendation includes a call on the European Commission to present a proposal for a Framework Directive setting quality standards for adequate, accessible, and enabling Minimum Income systems.
For more information about inclusive labour markets and minimum income, please refer to our policy paper “Adequate Minimum Income- Recommendations for an Active Inclusion Strategy, here.