Poverty : Ep Wishes to Strengthen Social Security for Most Vulnerable Groups

European Social Policy, December 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Poverty : Ep Wishes to Strengthen Social Security for Most Vulnerable Groups


An EU-wide minimum income, additional benefits for the least favoured groups and appropriate taxation of very high incomes are among the suggestions made by the European Parliament to combat poverty at European Union level. These proposals, adopted on 15 November in a non-legislative resolution, are meant to flesh out the European Platform against poverty and social exclusion, launched by the European Commission at the end of 2010.

"The number of poor people in Europe is incompatible with the values of justice and solidarity found in the treaties. Yet in spite of the Union's commitments to reduce them, poverty and social exclusion have risen in recent years," observed Socialist rapporteur Frederic Daerden (Belgium). Based on this observation, MEPs call for an ambitious platform - with clear budget lines - to bring 20 million people out of poverty and the drafting of specific recommendations to the member states, "especially in case of failure".

LEGISLATING ON MINIMUM INCOME

Among the most concrete measures, MEPs invite the European Commission to "launch a consultation on the possibility of a legislative initiative concerning a sensible minimum income which will allow economic growth". Exactly a year ago, the proposal for introduction of a European framework law on a minimum income failed to obtain a majority in the European Parliament (Figueiredo report). According to the rapporteur, this reversal results from the inclusion, in the request addressed to the Commission, of the different practices, collective agreements or law in the different member states, since the definition of a minimum income remains the prerogative of each member state.

A few European countries do not have minimum income systems at national level and, according to the European Anti-Poverty Network, most existing minimum income schemes do not guarantee an adequate income. …

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