Commission on income
Christiane Maigre, Euromarches, Belgium
We all will be using the Euro soon. But the living standard of those who live on social benefits will not improve at all. On the contrary, the problems they are faced with in their everyday life, or rather survival , will only increase. The Euro will enable us though to compare more easily the costs, but also the incomes from one country to the other. During the Assembly in Köln, we decided to formulate a demand of an European minimum income, very precisely estimated, so that we can have a common demand. We decided not to base our estimation on any vital minimum, as the cost of living does vary whether one lives in Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Brussels, or Athens; whether one lives in a big city or in a small town. Therefore we proposed in Créteil to base our estimation of this European minimum income on the National Gross Product per Head)... a method already used by the FERPA (European Organization for the Retired) to calculate their demand for minimum pension benefits for each country.
A calculation based on a percentage of the NGP can be used as a common reference by the different unemployed organizations all over Europe to base their demands on.
How can we popularise this demand ? This method of calculation may at first seem complicated: how can we state it more simply ? Who should it be directed to: to the directly concerned people or to some other organizations which may take a stand ? What kind of actions can we imagine on the European level ? Whose help can we expect ? When shall we put forward this demand ?
All these questions will have to be addressed if we intend to launch an European campaign on minimum social benefits and if we want to make our demands on minimum income converge.