Pablo Iglesias poses in the Financial Times the launch of a minimum vital income at European level. This is a proposal from the Vice Presidency for Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, which is also supported by Italy and Portugal and which, no more and no less, is defended today by Iglesias himself in his first interview in the reference economic newspaper. The three southern countries have joined and are already seeking support from other governments to advance a benefit that would be adapted to each country and which would be complementary with the different income systems, including the imminent minimum income in which the minister José Luis Escrivá is working.
The minimum income raised by the Government would seek to achieve minimum income standards in the countries of the euro zone, according to sources from the Executive. It would be adapted to each country, taking into account GDP, prices, unemployment … and other economic scales. That is, the level of income in Germany is not the same as that of Greece, to give two examples of countries. There would, therefore, be an offset between nations.
In addition, the European minimum income would be complemented by national and community income systems. Thus, always according to the approach of the second Vice-presidency, the benefit would be compatible with the European unemployment reinsurance or with him child and youth guarantee system.
The initiative is in the study phase by the promoting countries and will be extended to the rest of the partners. At the moment the Government prefers not to offer details on its financing and budget and refer to these negotiations in the European framework. The sources consulted recall that, according to Eurostat, Europe has 113 million people at risk of poverty. They frame this initiative in “an appeal to reinforce the social dimension of the EU in the face of the worsening of poverty and inequality by Covid”.
The proposal for a European minimum vital income is, as we say, solemnized by Iglesias in an interview published this Friday Financial Times. The economic newspaper, which up to now has classified Unidas Podemos as “radical left“, thus makes a space for the second vice president of the Government so that he can explain his proposal.
In parallel, and in defense of this minimum community income, Iglesias publishes this Friday in La Vanguardia another article defending that “it is time for the European Union to look to the future and advance in the development of an Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights by launching a ‘European social shield’ that includes a minimum European income” . Very similar pieces published in parallel Nunzia Catalfo, Minister of Employment and Social Affairs of Italy, in El Corrriere de la Sera; and Ana Mendes, Minister of Employment, Solidarity and Social Security of Portugal, in Public.
Iglesias considers in this opinion box that “the persistence of poverty and unemployment in Europe and its foreseeable exacerbation due to the Covid pandemic require global and integrated solutions beyond national frameworksHe adds that “a coordinated European response is necessary to avoid a new economic and social crisis such as the one we experienced after the 2008 crisis.”
“The initiatives in which the European Union is currently working commendably are essential elements to get out of this crisis without leaving anyone behind, but it is necessary to go further and ensure that everyone has their basic needs covered“writes the social vice president.” For this, a common minimum income system must be proposed to combat poverty and social exclusion from an ambitious and integrated perspective. “
Iglesias, Catalfo and Mendes considers that “the European Union needs a common minimum income guarantee framework that is not limited to a level of survival or simply to the poverty rate calculated from the European average income, but rather a legally binding instrument for all member states that define a framework for establishing an adequate minimum income, adapted to the level and way of life of each country“
In this way the three governments support the implementation of “a European instrument of solidarity allowing the generalization and support of decent and adequate minimum income systems in all Member States “.
Catalfo, by the way, belongs to the 5 Star Movement transalpine and Mendes is from Socialist Party luso.