On 15 March, 2023, the European Parliament plenary adopted a resolution on adequate minimum income to modernise and strengthen national minimum income schemes (MIS) in EU Member States and to address the current cost of living crisis. Following the Council Recommendation adopted by the European Council on 30 January 2023 on adequate minimum income ensuring active inclusion, the adopted resolution aims to raise awareness of minimum income schemes and make them more accessible, in particular for disadvantaged groups, such as people experiencing homelessness.
Measures to address widespread issues related to access to social benefits in the EU, such as the lack of take-up of these schemes or the digital divide, include a regular evaluation of their national schemes by EU countries and updating them if needed.
More importantly, a call for a binding EU framework Directive on adequate minimum income, which Eurodiaconia together with other Civil Society Organisations has long been advocating for, has been included in the resolution. While currently most minimum income schemes across Europe fail to provide adequate support to those in need, the adopted resolution is a clear call to the European Commission to take stronger measures to guarantee that no one is left behind. An EU directive on adequate minimum income would contribute to the goal of reducing poverty by at least half in all Member States by 2030. Moreover, it would help to further enhance the accessibility, adequacy and effectiveness of MISs, to promote upward social convergence.
The resolution was adopted with 336 votes in favour, 174 against and 121 abstentions by the plenary. The European Parliament is now for the first time calling for a directive on minimum income – a significant step forward in protecting people from falling below the poverty line.
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