Minimum Income Schemes across EU Member States.Authors: FRAZER Hugh, MARLIER Eric.
Abstract: The importance of ensuring adequate social safety nets has grown considerably with the current economic downturn. Yet, according to a recent overview prepared by the Core Team of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion, most countries within the EU still fall far short of having sufficiently developed and/or generous minimum income schemes (MISs) that allow people to live their lives with dignity. However, in many cases they do play an important role in reducing the severity and depth of poverty.
The Network Core Team's Synthesis Report, which draws on national non-governmental reports assessing the different Member States’ minimum income schemes, comes just one year after the European Commission published its Recommendation on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market. The Recommendation, adopted on 3 October 2008, contains common principles and practical guidelines for a comprehensive social inclusion strategy, based on a combination of three policy pillars: adequate income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services. The minimum income strand of the Recommendation calls on Member States “to recognise the basic right of a person to sufficient resources and social assistance to live in a manner compatible with human dignity as part of a comprehensive and consistent drive to combat social exclusion”.
The Synthesis Report includes sixteen suggestions for action at the national and/or EU level to enable the minimum income strand of the Commission's Recommendation on active inclusion to become a reality. These cover the issues of adequacy, uprating, coverage, non-take-up, disincentives, linking the 3 pillars of 'active inclusion', monitoring and reporting and the economic and financial crisis.
Reference: FRAZER Hugh, MARLIER Eric. Minimum Income Schemes across EU Member States. CEPS/INSTEAD, 2009, European Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion n°2009-01, 56 p.