A citizenship income to guarantee a decent standard of living for everyone

The introduction of a citizenship income – or basic income – could help overcome poverty and guarantee decent living conditions for everyone, said the Social Affairs Committee, which has encouraged debate on this issue in each country to prepare the ground for and launch national experiments.

The report by Nunzia Catalfo (Italy, NR), adopted by the committee today in Paris, points out that about 120 million Europeans are threatened by poverty and social exclusion, 25 million of whom are children. 40 million people are struggling with material difficulties on a daily basis, and over 4 million are homeless. “The introduction of a basic income, paid without means test or work requirements, is essential to preserve human dignity and would strengthen the participation of all in society,” the rapporteur said.

First of all, says the adopted text, the member States need to consider using methodologies and benchmark indicators for determining the level of entitlements that would enable those most in need to enjoy a decent living standard – for example the ‘at-risk-of poverty or social exclusion’ indicator (AROPE) developed by the European Union.

The committee also made a number of recommendations to member States, considering that the introduction of a basic income requires intermediary steps to make it affordable through bold revisions in national social protection and taxation systems.