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Commission dragging its feet on minimum income policy

MEPs approved today an oral question to the Commission initiated by GUE/NGL MEP Paloma López Bermejo on the minimum income in the European Union.

The initiative recalled President Juncker’s commitment, during his inaugural speech, to an “adequate income” for all Europeans yet plans by the Commission have remained unclear.

In 2010 the European Parliament approved a resolution supporting a minimum income set for 60 percent of the median income of member states.

The Commission had issued in 2008 a recommendation to member states for adequate income support but falling short of promoting benchmarks and best practices, a demand of the European Parliament.

GUE/NGL MEP João Pimenta Lopes spoke on behalf of Bermejo at the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) about the need to implement a minimum income as a measure to fight poverty, a reality that has aggravated in the past few years in the EU, where today one quarter of the EU-28 population lives at risk of poverty:

“A minimum income must be accompanied by redistribution policies that guarantee a dignified life for citizens in all member states. This means that the minimum income should not replace welfare programmes but should enhance existing approaches.”

Lopes highlighted that the recommended benchmark should be set as a minimum value, over which the reality of each member state must be added:

“Because realities are different in each member state, minimum income should reflect their specific conditions. There are countries where salaries have dropped due to the crisis in which 60 percent of median income still falls below the poverty line.”

“Europe 2020, the Commission’s growth strategy, is evidence of the failure of EU policy whereby the goal of lifting 20 million people out of the risk of poverty still leaves 100 million behind,” Lopes added.