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The need for a guaranteed minimum income in a time of crisis

A guaranteed minimum income is an important element in reducing the social effects of the economic crisis, members of PACE's Social Affairs Committee were told today at a meeting in Nicosia.

Andreas Ashiotis, the Permanent Secretary of Cyprus’s Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, was addressing the parliamentarians as part of a hearing for a report on "Towards a new European social model" being prepared by Maria de Belém Roseira (Portugal, SOC). "The financial and economic crisis has sparked a social crisis,” he said. “In this context, solidarity between citizens is important, but we also need a minimum guaranteed income for every citizen."

His message was echoed by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, Senior Economist at the International Labour Organization (ILO), who pointed out that Europe’s social model was being endangered by the crisis. Many of its pillars had been weakened, with serious consequences in particular for youth employment, the fight against poverty and social cohesion. "What we need to do now", he explained, "is to look at what worked and what did not work, and not be afraid to reverse course on some of the measures taken during the crisis, such as reducing social dialogue and the minimum wage, if they are found to have been counter-productive."

The committee will hold a follow-up hearing with further experts during the Assembly’s June 2014 session.