23 MEPs support European Citizens’ Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income

23 MEPs support European Citizens' Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income

On the 28th of November, 23 Members of the European Parliament from 11 different European countries issued a joint statement expressing their support for the European Citizen’s 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-testing or work conditions. 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 either via the internet (http://sign.basicincome2013.eu) or on paper. One million signatures are needed by 14 January 2014 to make sure it lands on the EC’s desk. MEPs’ support statement is reproduced here:

"We, the undersigned, support the European Citizens’ Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income because we believe a new form of social security is urgently needed:

1) As a result of the economic crisis, an estimated 120 million people in the EU – one in four adults and over one in four children – are experiencing or are at risk of poverty, insecure job contracts are becoming more widespread and work conditions are worsening;

2) 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;

3) As austerity policies curtail government services in countries across Europe, the burden of unpaid labour needed to keep families and communities together falls heaviest on women – all should be able to make a positive choice to care for friends and relatives without fear of poverty;

4) Unconditional Basic Income is a far simpler form of social security than those currently in place. As required by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union a basic income would maintain citizens’ fundamental rights to personal dignity and privacy, while encouraging solidarity, civic participation and creativity;

5) Everywhere in Europe the unconditional Basic Income would encourage further integration of people within and between nations, help balance income disparities and mitigate the social and racial tensions caused by economic migration;

6) Unconditional Basic Income could encourage ways of living which have less impact on the environment;

7) Unconditional Basic Income needs further study and experiments to prove its practicality and to explore different models for its implementation.

Therefore, we urge all citizens to join us in supporting this initiative as an important step towards the creation of a Europe in which all have an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential together.

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. Unconditional Basic Income is universal, paid to each individual unconditionally and enough to ensure a dignified existence with full participation in society."

The statement was signed by:

Martin EHRENHAUSER, independent (Austria) Phillippe LAMBERTS, Greens (Belgium) Nikola VULJANIĆ, Left (Croatia) Tarja CRONBERG, Greens (Finland) Catherine GREZE, Greens (France) Eva JOLY, Greens (France) José BOVÉ, Greens (France) Karima DELLI, Greens (France) Malika BENARAB-ATTOU, Greens (France) Michèle RIVASI, Greens (France) Gerald HÄFNER, 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)

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