European Citizens’ Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income

Stand up for Basic Income as a Human Right!

On January 14th 2013, the European Commission accepted our European Citizens’ Initiative hence triggering a one-year campaign involving all countries in the European Union.

Before January 14, 2014, we have to reach 500 million citizens within the European Union and collect one million statements of support with minimum numbers reached for at least 7 member states. 20 member states are already participating in this initiative.

If we collect one million statements of support for Basic Income from the 500 million inhabitants of the European Union, the European Commission will have to examine our initiative carefully and arrange for a public hearing in the European Parliament.

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon, aimed at increasing direct democracy in the European Union. The initiative enables one million EU citizens, who are nationals of at least one quarter of the Member States, to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area where the Member States have conferred powers onto the EU level.

The initiators of the present initiative – which aims at exploring the feasibility of a European Basic Income scheme – emphasize that UBI should not replace the welfare state but rather complete and transform the same from a compensatory into an emancipatory welfare state.

The emancipatory Unconditional Basic Income is defined by the following four criteria: universal, individual, unconditional, high enough to ensure an existence in dignity and participation in society.

Universal: In principle every person, irrespective of age, descent, place of residence, profession etc. will be entitled to receive this allocation. Thus we claim a European-wide, guaranteed, unconditional Basic Income.

Individual: Every woman, every man, every child has the right to a Basic Income on an individual basis, and definitely not on a couple or household basis. The Unconditional Basic Income will be independent of their circumstances: of marital status, cohabitation or household configuration, or of the income or property of other household or family members. This is the only way to ensure privacy and to prevent control over other individuals. It enables individuals to make their own decisions.

Unconditional: We regard Basic Income as a human right which shall not depend on any preconditions, whether an obligation to take paid employment, to be involved in community service, or to behave according to traditional gender roles. Nor will it be subject to income, savings or property limits.

High enough: The amount should provide for a decent standard of living, which meets society’s social and cultural standards in the country concerned. It should prevent material poverty and provide the opportunity to participate in society. This means that the net income should, at a minimum, be at the poverty-risk level according to EU standards, which corresponds to 60% of the so-called national median net equivalent income. Especially in countries where the majority have low incomes, and therefore median income is low, an alternative benchmark (e.g. a basket of goods) should be used to determine the amount of the Basic Income, to guarantee a life in dignity, material security and full participation in society.

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