I was trying to work out what to say about this that oozed out of the European Parliament today, but words fail me, so I will leave it in their words.
minimum income to combat poverty
Employment policy - 18-03-2010 - 12:52
Introducing an EU-wide minimum income would help to reduce poverty, agreed MEPs and employers' and workers' representatives on Wednesday. But the question of whether an EU framework directive would be an appropriate way to achieve this remains open.
The political importance of this issue, given that the latest economy and finance Council had announced its intention to withdraw non-standard measures to support employment and prolong unemployment benefit mechanisms, was stressed by Employment and Social Committee Chair Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR).
"Finance ministers are thus aggravating the social situation and undermining the aim, proposed in the 2020 strategy, of reducing poverty", she said.
Escaping precarity "If we boosted growth in the EU by 1 to 2%, 6.5 million jobs would be created, said Rebekah Smith, of BusinessEurope. Yet "a job is no longer a guarantee against poverty. Precarity has generated poor workers, and hence poor retirees", countered Henri Lourdelle of the European Trade Union Confederation.
Is an EU framework directive the right response?
A framework directive on minimum income systems in the EU was advocated by Fintan Farrell, of the European Anti-Poverty Network. "In the EU, 24 out of 27
countries have a minimum income system. Only Bulgaria, Greece and Italy have nothing", added Roshan Di Puppo of SocialPlatform. Such a directive could get again be blocked in the Council, warned Elisabeth Lynne (ALDE, UK).
"The figure of over 80 million poor in the EU demands our attention. Parliament must undertake, in this resolution, to provide a genuine political response", said rapporteur Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL, PT).
Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we might need some help.