A minimum income standard to combat rising poverty - MEP challenges EU to take action
European Parliament, Strasbourg, 19/10/2010
"Poverty and social exclusion are violations of human dignity and fundamental human rights", Portuguese GUE/NGL MEP Ilda Figueiredo said, presenting proposals for a minimum income to MEPs, Commission and Council today.
"Minimum income schemes based on at least 60% of average income in each country would be an effective tool to fight the consequences of social exclusion, unemployment and poverty wages. Such schemes have an important role in the redistribution of income and play a counter-cyclical economic role by providing additional resources to enhance demand and consumption in the domestic market, thereby counteracting recession."
"Eurostat figures show that even after social transfers, some 85 million people remain at risk of poverty in the EU. The deepening of neoliberal policies and so-called austerity measures that involve a combination of cuts to wages and services with increased taxes on essential goods, including food, means that more people will be at risk. As millions of demonstrators have said from the streets, we must change policies to tackle poverty and social exclusion."
"This is our challenge to the European Commission: a framework directive on a minimum income," Figueiredo concluded.
"We do not eliminate poverty with publicity campaigns" German MEP Gabi Zimmer said. "The tally and achievements of the 2010 European Year against Poverty are sad but this report by my colleague Ilda Figueiredo has reaffirmed calls for a minimum income and the elimination of child poverty by 2015."
"Worldwide, the number of those going hungry last year rose to over 1 billion; 1.2 billion live on less than $1.25 a day. The EU must establish a financial transaction tax to fund the fight against poverty."
Together with the centre-left, the GUE/NGL will tomorrow table a motion for resolution that calls for the Commission to come forward with an EU Framework Directive for the introduction of minimum income.
GUE/NGL PRESS CONTACTS:
David Lundy + 32 485 50 58 12
Gianfranco Battistini + 32 475 64 66 28
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Sonja Giese + 32 486 94 50 21
Gauche Unitaire Européenne/Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group