Basic income: a lever to create decent living conditions for all

“Social Justice Day is a moment to pause and think about what our society should do so that all citizens can enjoy decent living conditions. I am convinced that basic income can be part of the answer, and ensure equal opportunities for all more effectively than the existing patchwork of social benefits, services and programmes,” said Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), Chairperson of the PACE Social Affairs Committee, speaking on the occasion of the World Day of Social Justice.

“I am fully aware of the practical difficulties of such a radical change in social policy. But just as Rome was not built overnight, an in-depth public discussion is needed in our countries to lay the groundwork and to define the modalities for a nationally-relevant basic income scheme based on a new social contract,” Mr Schennach stressed, referring to PACE Resolution 2197 (2018).

“A realistic introduction of a basic income must be achieved at an affordable cost. It requires strong political will, and a gradual overhaul of national social protection and taxation systems. However, let us be clear: a basic income is not meant to replace all social benefits but rather to streamline them,” he added.

“Nearly all European countries have been repeatedly urged to guarantee more adequate support to the neediest and the most vulnerable populations. It is time for Europe’s political leaders to put this vision of a fairer society higher up on the political agenda,” Mr Schennach concluded.