Minimum income (MI) schemes play a vital role in alleviating the worst impacts of poverty and social exclusion in many countries. However, in too many countries MI schemes still fall short of ensuring a decent life for the most vulnerable in society. Progress in improving them in recent years has been disappointing.
The most common weaknesses include
Despite some improvements, in many countries there is still not sufficient emphasis on developing an integrated and tailored approach to support those receiving benefits and to help them integrate into society and, as far as possible, into the labour market.
The adequacy and effectiveness of MI schemes are fundamental building blocks if the objective of the current Commission to ensure a “triple-A” social rating for Europe is to be achieved.
The 35 country reports prepared by the independent experts of the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) highlight and assess the contribution of minimum income schemes to both preventing and alleviating poverty and social exclusion, and fostering an active inclusion approach to promoting social investment.
Ensuring high quality universal social protection systems, and, as part of them, effective and adequate MI schemes is key to ensuring that the fundamental human right to live in dignity and participate fully in society can be made real. In order to strengthen MI schemes across Europe and achieve a truly Social Europe, the ESPN coordinators recommend: