Thirty-two Members of the European Parliament from twelve countries have issued a joint statement expressing their support for the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) for Unconditional Basic Income. This calls upon the European Commission to assess the idea of reforming current national social security arrangements towards an unconditional basic income (UBI)
UBI is a regular, universal payment to everyone without means test or work requirement. It should be high enough to guarantee everyone a dignified existence. It would let people make choices about what to do in life without fear of poverty. It would act as a cushion for the increasing numbers of people who have short-term or zero-hour contracts, and those starting up their own businesses.
Many financing schemes have been elaborated over the years in several countries. The European Initiative for UBI demands further studies to be started at the EU level.
The MEPs ask all Europeans to support this initiative. All EU citizens eligible to vote can support this ECI here. One million signatures are needed by 14 January 2014 to make sure it lands on the EC’s desk.
The current social security systems are demeaning and inadequate in addressing the roots of poverty, the MEPs emphasize.
“Unconditional Basic Income would transform social security from a compensatory system into an emancipatory system, one that trusts people to make their own decisions, and does not stigmatise them for their circumstances,” the statement says.
“We believe a new form of social security is urgently needed /…/ as social security systems in individual countries become increasingly conditional and punitive, they undermine individual dignity, form barriers to civic participation and deepen divisions in European society both across and within national borders.”
They also said this new form of social security is far simpler than existing (often chaotic and burdensome) systems, would help balance income disparities and could help mitigate the social and racial tensions caused by economic migration.
The organising committee of the European Citizens Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income thanks the MEPs for their commitment and is looking forward to getting further support in the European Parliament where a conference on the topic will be held on 9th December.
The statement was signed by:
Martin EHRENHAUSER, independent (Austria)
Isabelle DURANT, Greens (Belgium)
Phillippe LAMBERTS,Greens (Belgium)
Bart STAES, Greens (Belgium)
NikolaVULJANIĆ, Left (Croatia)
Olga SEHNALOVA, Social Democrats (Czech Republic)
Tarja CRONBERG, Greens (Finland)
Satu HASSI, Greens (Finland)
Sirpa PIETIKAINEN, Christian Democrats (Finland)
Jean-Paul BESSET, Greens (France)
Yves COCHET, Greens (France)
Catherine GREZE, Greens (France)
Eva JOLY, Greens (France)
José BOVÉ, Greens (France)
KarimaDELLI, Greens (France)
MalikaBENARAB-ATTOU, Greens (France)
Nicole KILL-NIELSEN, Greens (France)
Michèle RIVASI, Greens (France)
GeraldHÄFNER, Greens (Germany)
Ska KELLER, Greens (Germany)
Nikos CHRISOGELOS, Greens (Greece)
Brian CROWLEY, ALDE (Ireland)
Emer COSTELLO, Social Democrats (Ireland)
Liam AYLWARD, ALDE (Ireland)
Nessa CHILDERS, independent (Ireland)
Sean KELLY, Christian Democrats (Ireland)
Pat the Cope Callagher, ALDE (Ireland)
Georges BACH, Christian Democrats (Luxembourg)
Claude TURMES, Greens (Luxembourg)
Carl SCHLYTER, Greens (Sweden)
Jean LAMBERT, Greens (UK)
Keith TAYLOR, Greens (UK)
Photo Courtesy of Rikard Froberg