With notion to Federation of Young European Green’s values of green social economy and in light of our 2008 Resolution on Basic Income, we, the member organisations of FYEG, demand a European basic income to protect European’s social rights. Taking action for this matter is more important than ever, especially in the light of the economic crisis.
Poverty eradication & adapting to the new situation in working life
With technical development taking faster pace and work relationships being completely changed, there is no going back to traditional working life. Also in light of the economic crisis and austerity policy, Europe must provide economic guarantees for its nationals to live and support themselves.
European social policies must live in their time and change to suit better to the needs of the people and societies. Being an income that is unconditional and received by everyone, the basic income is the answer. The basic income would make it always useful to work but when the work ends, no one would be left without any support. In times of short-time employments this would make working always beneficial. The basic income would also make it easier to start own business by not having to worry how to support oneself in case of failing or not succeeding immediately. In this sense, the basic income would help poverty-eradication.
More work and less poverty would also help the European economy. By supporting its citizens, Europe could lift itself from the economic crisis. The basic income is a great alternative for austerity. The amount of income must though be suited to national income level in each member state, this to make sure that member states could not use basic income to lower the level of social security. At present, a common European level could lead to too low level of social security in countries with high level of prices.
Benefiting the youth
Basic income would also benefit the youth. It would provide income during the time of studying and after it, making sure that it is always advantageous to study without having to worry about working at the same time to support oneself. The basic income would also give the freedom to choose how one wants to live. The youth rarely have a clear image of what they want to do in life. The basic income would make sure that one can have a change of heart, change what one studies, where one lives and re-educate oneself later in life. The basic income would also provide youth more flexible job opportunities, would make part-time working easier and give youth better opportunities to get into working life.
Our policy paper on green social economy (2008) defines the basic income as following: ‘We conceive Basic Income as a powerful tool in order to promote a green concept of economy. We understand basic income as an unconditional and periodic social benefit paid to all members of the society, regardless of their citizenship, on an individual basis. The amount should be big enough to cover the average basic needs of an individual.’ The basic income should be one of our European core instruments in poverty eradication and enabling people to freely choose their way of life.
On these premises and our already accepted FYEG policies, we feel that our and the federation’s stand is clear. FYEG member organisations may have different positions concerning the question and should have a right to take a separate stance on the issue. Member organisations should be given a chance to participate in discussion concerning the matter, albeit they should not feel to be politically bound to policies they cannot accept.
We call upon the federation’s executive board and relevant working groups to
1. Facilitate and encourage on the matter within the federation and member organisations.
2. Actively promote and campaign for basic income in European, member states’ , EU and international platforms.