Jun 18

Strategy for the years 2015-2020 on a European Uncondition Basic Income

On 19 & 20 March there was an inspiring public conference ‘Unconditional Basic Income as a Response to Inequalities in Europe’ in Maribor, Slovenia which attracted over 80 participants from 17 countries. Over the following two days Unconditional Basic Income Europe met to agree a common strategy to expand the European movement for basic income and get concrete results by 2020.

Unconditional Basic Income Europe, which was born from after the European Citizens Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income in 2013, celebrated its foundation last year at a major conference in Brussels. Since then, we have been busy getting UBI-Europe officially registered as a non-profit association under Belgian law and consolidating our membership. In the meantime, the movement kept growing through our network of national-level organisations where most of our activists have been focusing their energy.

It was time to get together again and discuss our common vision for Europe and shape a strategy to achieve our goals. Such was the purpose of our meeting in Maribor, Slovenia this March.

future ubi

Objective for 2020: Have UBI in at least one European Country and an EU-wide step towards an emancipatory UBI

Such a step could be achieved by the introduction of a partial basic income scheme as outlined in the Eurodividend proposal elaborated by prominent UBI advocate Philippe van Parijs, or through alternative proposals like a basic income for children.

Whatever they might be, the meeting agreed that any such first steps should not harm current social protection systems and degrade the situation of the majority, and especially not the poorest. On the contrary they should improve social protection systems and contribute to reducing social inequalities within countries, and within the European Union.

In order to achieve our goal, UBI-Europe identifies 4 strategic orientations for 2015:

  • Make basic income a mainstream topic in Europe

  • Intensify our lobbying activities in order to leverage support among EU policymakers – and facilitate cooperation between them

  • Assert the feasibility of and arguments for UBI as an attractive alternative for Europe

  • Expand UBI-Europe as a diverse grassroots movement

Several projects contributing to these aims were discussed at the meeting in Maribor. We are in the process of elaborating a more detailed action plan. Our next steps will be unveiled as we are working on them.

UBI-Europe stands against austerity and undemocratic Treaties

UBI-Europe is aware, that the crisis management of the EU and their austerity policy is a severe obstacle for UBI. So we are part of the struggles to overcome them. This is why UBI-Europe has decided to join the Stop-TTIP campaign.

“The TTIP agreement is a danger for social standards in the EU. The EU must address its own humanitarian, social and economic governance problems before further opening up its trade. By giving multinational corporations the right to overturn decisions by European governments it also hinders attempts to make Europe more democratic,“ said Klaus Sambor, co-founder of UBI-Europe and member of ATTAC Austria.

UBI-Europe supports efforts towards improving the European Citizens Initiative

In order to get the EU to move towards new radical solutions such as basic income, UBI-Europe also acknowledge the need for more democratic institutions in the EU.

One of the key pillars for a better European Union should be a significant improvement of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) instrument. “Our own experience with organising one of the first ECIs shows the ECI is not yet citizen-friendly and suffers from many unnecessary obstacles, especially the data requirements. This is why we fully support the ECI Campaign in its effort to reform the ECI. Their proposals are completely reasonable and are sorely needed to avoid the ECI being abandoned by civil society.” said Stanislas Jourdan, former coordinator for the ECI for Unconditional Basic Income which collected 300,000 signatures in 2013.

Welcome to our new board

Our general meeting also was the opportunity to elect UBI-Europe’s new official board. Congratulations to our newly elected members:

  • Chair: Barbara Jacobson (United Kingdom)

  • Vice Chair: Lena Stark (Sweden

  • Vice Chair: Vahur Luhtsalu (Estonia)

  • Treasurer: Quentin Fabri (Belgium)

  • Secretary: Marlies Kunnen (Netherlands / UK)

  • Co-ordinator: Stanislas Jourdan (France)

Follow our next steps!

If you want to join our efforts to make UBI a reality in Europe, signup as a supporter here and watch for upcoming announcements. Donations would be warmly appreciated in order to keep us running and facilitate the organisation of our upcoming projects! In fact, if every of our 40,000 supporters donate 5 euros, we would be able to fund all UBI-Europe’s activities for the coming year and more.

Unconditional Basic Income Europe

 
Feb 25

Is Greece closer to a Basic Income Scheme?

varoukant-43-1

In the letter send to the Eurogroup by the Finance Miniter, concerning the program of the Greek Government, there is a reference to a Basic Income using the term Guaranteed Basic Income:

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0LS0V520150224?irpc=932

In the Greek version, the term Guaranteed Income (Εγγυημένο Εισόδημα) is used:
http://www.nooz.gr/economy/olokliri-i-epistoli-sta-agglika

This reference is in the context of facing the humanitarian crises and the reform of the welfare policy for certain ages pention. The letter also refers to the evaluation and extention of the Minimum Guranteed Income scheme that already exists.

Sep 10

A vision of the future: Turning Crisis into an Opportunity for an Unconditional Basic Income in Europe

02_Athens_Summit_2014_Poster_Final_Facebook_Campaign

 

A vision of the future:

If not NOW? When?

Turning Crisis into an Opportunity for an Unconditional Basic Income in Europe

UBIE Conference

Athens, 26-28 September 2014

Melina Merkouri Cultural Center

66 Irakleidon & Thessalonikis street

 

We invite you to participate with UBIE (Universal Basic Income Europe) in a day of talks, brainstorming and planning about the future of emancipation in Europe and beyond.

 

UBIE is a network of organisations and individuals from 25 European countries who have different cultures and languages, but a common view that an Unconditional Basic Income is a sustainable and long term solution for our societies.

We work together to promote the idea of an unconditional basic income until we get its implementation everywhere in Europe, and its recognition as a universal human right.

 

Why this event?

 

Unconditional Basic Income is not a very well-known in Greece. The crisis, huge unemployment and media propaganda create desperate and very often hypnotized citizens.

In a country where finding a job with a salary of 400 euro per month sounds like a BLESSING, basic income may not seem like a priority.

But it is in this environment, where there is now a great need for the implementation of Unconditional Basic Income. Austerity, unemployment, poverty, [widening inequalities of wealth, education and access to meaningful employment] and the lack of democracy are red warning signals that Europe needs basic income more than ever before.

This conference will be a unique opportunity to attract a wider audience (the Precariat audience) so that more people will know and understand the concept and the importance of basic income for their lives and our society.

 

 

Schedule

 

LUNCH

12.00- 14.00 Preparation of food

Music and Actions to promote Basic Income

Place: Park in Thissio, next to the Thissio metro station (green line)

14:00 – 15:30 Food for all – Basic Income for all, Get together lunch prepared by Social Kitchens

 

WORKSHOPS

Place: Melina Merkouri Cultural Center, 66 Irakleidon & Thessalonikis street

 

16.00-17.00 Otto Lüdemann, place: Section A

Presentation of the project “Unconditional Basic Income in Europe – Promoting Civil Society” (within the EU-Program: “Europe for Citizens”, application sent out Sep 1st 2014, answer expected dec. 2014)

 

GOALS OF THE PROJECT

Creating opportunities for exchange between activists and for debating UBI with citizens in different European countries with the following concerns:

– UBI as tool for overcoming poverty, – UBI as condition for social and political participation, – UBI facilitating innovations in the larger context of social, economic, ecological and cultural development, – UBI as subject of research and experimentation.

 

LEVELS OF REALISATION

1. 5 Meetings with workshops, incl. EU-wide networking, exchange and press releases at the end of each meeting, exchange and promotion: experts, activists, politicians from national networks

2. Internat. week of basic income (Sep 2015) as another opportunity for mobilizing organisations taking part in an EU-wide exchange,

3. Exhibition about UBI, concept to be developed and possibly translated,

4. Website, WWW.BASICINCOME2013.EU to be developed as a platform of participation, exchange and dissemination of results.

FORESEEN Meetings:

March 19th/20th, 2015 / Slovenia, //     June 19th/20th France //

Sep 19th/20th 2015 / Netherlands //      Dec 5th/6th Hungary //

Feb 26th/28th 2016 / Germany.

16.00-17.00 Faridah Zwanikken, place: Section B

 

Human right to fight for the existence of the self!

The group is called: Action Research. In our cross-disciplinary group during the workshop we will take up the social challenge of the human right to fight for the self and reflect on your experience. We will help each other to translate our knowledge into impactful projects.

17.00-17.45 Jouko Hemmi, place: Section A

UBI the route towards a new era of humanity – advice to legislators from an experienced expert.

Jouko equates the right to Unconditional Basic Income with constitutional rights and examines its possibilities to remedy social ills and exclusion.

17.00- 17.45 Sarah Thorne and Clayton Lavallin, place: Section B

Imagining a Basic Income

This workshop will explore some of the key principles behind the idea of an unconditional basic income through imagination and reflection.

 

17.45 – 18:15 COFFEE BREAK

 

CONFERENCE

Moderator: Philippos Dragoumis (Greek UBI team )

 

18.15 Short introduction from Greek UBI group

18.20 Skype Connection with Manos Matsaganis

Why does he support Basic Income and why Basic Income is important for Greece?

 

Manos Matsaganis is an associate professor at Athens University of Economics and Business, and a member of BIEN.

18:30 – 19:00 Guy Standing

"Crisis and the Precariat: Why the new dangerous class needs a basic income"

Greece is at the forefront of the crisis of globalisation, which has produced a new class, the precariat, consisting of millions of people living and labouring in chronic insecurity, with volatile and falling real incomes. This presentation will define the emerging class structure, explain why the precariat is the new dangerous class and why a basic income is vital if the precariat is to obtain basic security, if the rising inequalities are to be reversed and if chaotic social strife is to be avoided.

 

Economist and professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),University of London, Guy Standing is a co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network(BIEN). He has written widely about labour economics, labour market policy, unemployment, labour market flexibility, structural adjustment policies and social protection.

His recent work has focused on the emerging precariat class ("The Precariat" 2012 "A Precariat Charter, From Denizens to Citizens" 2014) and the need to move towards unconditional basic income and deliberative democracy.

19:00 – 20:00 Roundtable  

Moderator: Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist is a Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Theory from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the City University of New York. He is coauthor of Economics for Social Workers and coeditor of the Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee. He has contributed to journals such as Politics, Philosophy, and Economics; Political Studies; and the Eastern Economic Journal.

 

Short Presentations:

 

-Bernard Kundig

The Switzerland case (avantages of direct democracy institutions)

 

-Guy Standing

Pilot studies of Basic Income

 

-Stanislas Jourdan, Mediactivist and member of the French movement for Basic Income.

The Euro Dividend as a solution to finance Basic Income

 

-Skype Connection with Lluís Torrens, a collaborator of the Podemos

Why do they support Basic Income?

 

He collaborates with Spain’s Basic Income Network and has developed several studies on the feasibility of a Basic Income in Catalonia and Basque Country.

He is also member of  the Council of  the Observatory of Civic Participation of Barcelona, and a member of Initiatives per al decreixement (Initiatives for Degrowth) a working group for developing proposals about a new social, sustainable and steady-state economic model

Diploma from the General Management Program of the IESE at the Universidad de Navarra.

M.Sc. in Economic Analysis for the Department of Economics at the UAB and the Institute of Economic Analysis (CSIC)

B.A. in Economics, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

 

-Chrysogelos Nikos, politician, president of the Greens

Why do the Greens support Basic Income?

 

-Vassilis Perantzakis

Member of the Greek Pirate Party

Why do the Pirates support Basic Income?

20:00 – 21:00 Debate: Questions & answers

Moderator: Christine Papadopoulou (Activist and member of the UBI Greek team)

 

After event

After the end of the conference, on Friday the 26th of September, we organised an event for all of you. We are going to walk into the 'underground', offtrack neighborhoods of the city and see the places that tourists never visit. Then, we are going to have dinner at a traditional taverna with great Greek food (price per person around 12 euro).

So, get ready to experience the real face of Athens!

 

To register for the event, send an email with your name with the subject “UBIE Athens Registration” to info@www.basicincome.gr.

Nov 28

24 MEPs call for support for the EU Citizens Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income!

On the 28th of November, 24 members of the European Parliament from 11 different European Countries issued a joint statement (pdf) expressing their support for the European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) for Unconditional Basic Income. This calls upon the European Commission to assess the idea of reforming current national social security arrangements towards an unconditional basic income (UBI).

UBI is a regular, universal payment to everyone without means-testing or work conditions. It should be high enough to guarantee everyone a dignified existence. It would let people make choices about what to do in life without fear of poverty. It would act as a cushion for the increasing numbers of people who have short-term or zero-hour contracts, and those starting up their own businesses.

Many financing schemes have been elaborated over the years in several countries. The European Initiative for UBI is asking for further studies to be started at the EU level.

The MEPs ask all Europeans to support this initiative. All EU citizens eligible to vote can support this ECI either via the internet (http://sign.basicincome2013.eu) or on paper. One million signatures are needed by 14 January 2014 to make sure it lands on the EC’s desk.

The current social security systems are demeaning and inadequate in addressing the roots of poverty, the MEPs emphasize.

“Unconditional Basic Income would transform social security from a compensatory system into an emancipatory system, one that trusts people to make their own decisions, and does not stigmatise them for their circumstances,” the statement says.

“We believe a new form of social security is urgently needed as social security systems in individual countries become increasingly conditional and punitive, they undermine individual dignity, form barriers to civic participation and deepen divisions in European society both across and within national borders.”

They also said this new form of social security is far simpler than existing (often chaotic and burdensome) systems, would help balance income disparities and could help mitigate the social and racial tensions caused by economic migration.

Signatories:

Martin EHRENHAUSER, independent (Austria)
Phillippe LAMBERTS, Greens (Belgium)
Nikola VULJANIĆ, Left (Croatian)
Tarja CRONBERG, Greens (Finland)
Satu HASSI, Greens (Finland)
Catherine GREZE, Greens (France)
Eva JOLY, Greens (France)
José BOVÉ, Greens (France)
Karima DELLI, Greens (France)
Malika BENARAB-ATTOU, Greens (France)
Michèle RIVASI, Greens (France)
Gerald HÄFNER, Greens (Germany)
Ska KELLER, Greens (Germany)
Nikos CHRISOGELOS, Greens (Greece)
Brian CROWLEY, ALDE (Ireland)
Emer COSTELLO, Social Democrats (Ireland)
Liam AYLWARD, ALDE (Ireland)
Nessa CHILDERS, independent (Ireland)
Sean KELLY, Christian Democrats (Ireland)
Pat the Cope Callagher, ALDE (Ireland)
Georges BACH, Christian Democrats (Luxembourg)
Claude TURMES, Greens (Luxembourg)
Carl SCHLYTER, Greens (Sweden)
Jean LAMBERT, Greens (UK)

 

[update 29/11] Olga SEHNALOVÁ, Keith TAYLOR, Bart STAES and Yves COCHET also brought their support.

[update 30/11] Isabelle DURANT was added

[update 05/12] Jean-Paul BESSET and Nicole KIIL-NIELSEN joined their support

Nov 01

Ten Reasons to Support Basic Income

1) Basic Income will help us rethink how & why we work

A basic income can help you do other work and reconsider old choices: It will enable you to retrain, safe in the knowledge that you’ll have enough money to maintain a decent standard of living while you do. It will therefore help each of us to decide what it is we truly want to do.

2) Basic Income will contribute to better working conditions

With the insurance of having unconditional basic income as a safety net, workers can challenge their employers if they find their conditions of work unfair or degrading.

3) Basic Income will downsize bureaucracy

Because a basic income scheme is one of the most simple tax / benefits models, it will reduce all the bureaucracy surrounding the welfare state thus making it less complex and costly, while being fairer and more emancipatory.

4) Basic income will make benefit fraud obsolete

As an extension of (3), benefit fraud will vanish as a possibility because no one needs to commit fraud to get a basic income: it is granted automatically. Moreover, an unconditional basic income will fix the threshold and poverty trap effects induced by the current means-tested schemes.

5) Basic income will help reducing inequalities

A basic income is also a means for sharing out the wealth produced by a society to all people thereby reducing the growing inequalities across the world.

6) It will provide a more secure and substantial safety net for all people

Most existing means-tested anti-poverty schemes exclude people because of their complexity, or because people don’t even know how to apply or whether they qualify. With a basic income, people currently excluded from benefit allowances will automatically have their rights guaranteed.

7) Basic Income will contribute to less working hours and better distribution of jobs

With a basic income, people will have the option to reduce their working hours without sacrificing their income. They will therefore be able to spend more time doing other things they find meaningful. At the macroeconomic level, this will induce a better distribution of jobs because people reducing their hours will increase the jobs opportunities for those currently excluded from the labor market.

8) Basic Income will reward unpaid contributions

A huge number of unpaid activities are currently not recognized as economic contributions. Yet, our economy increasingly relies on these free contributions (think about wikipedia as well as the work parents do). A Basic Income would recognise and reward theses activities.

9) Basic Income will strengthen our Democracy

With a minimum level of security guaranteed to all citizens and less time in work or worrying about work, innovation in political, social, economic and technological terms would be a made more lively part of everyday life and its concerns.

10) Basic Income is a fair redistribution of technological advancement

Thanks to massive advancements in our technological and productive capacities the world of work is changing. Yet most of our wealth and technology is as a consequence of our ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’: We are wealthier not as a result of our own efforts and merits but those of our ancestors. Basic income is a way to civilize and redistribute the advantages of that on-going advancement.

and one more….

11) Basic Income will end extreme financial poverty

Because we live in a world where we have the means (and one hopes, the will) to end the kinds of suffering we see as a supposedly constant feature of our surroundings. Basic income is a way to join together the means and the will.

Sourcehttp://basicincome.org.uk/reasons-support-basic-income/

Apr 23

Call for Basic Income

Beyond social divisions, corporations and doctrines, we, the signatories of the present call, express our will to contribute to a realistic and constructive transformation of our society: basic income.

What is basic income?

The idea has been long time supported by a great number of personnalities from all political horizons, religions or nationalities. It is known equally as: guaranteed minimum income, citizen’s dividend, citizen's income etc.(cf. Wikipedia )

Basic income shouldn’t be confused with a minimum income, liek it currently exists in countries like UK, or France’s RMI or RSA, and other conditionally allocated allowances. Basic income is by essence, automatic, unconditional, universal and unalienable. Everybody, rich or poor gets it, without even asking for it. It is granted to each individual, from birth to death. Its amount should be enough to guarantee each and everyone a decent living – whatever happens -. It is cumulative with other sources of income (wages or other). It shan’t be withdrawn from the poorest, but the richest will pay taxes on it.

Basic income won’t reward employment, but redefine work in a wider significance.

Neither employment, nor capital income, nor conventional social aid can henceforth claim to guarantee the right to existence of each individual as defined in Article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The fact is: due to computerization and automation of production, full employment can not be reached anymore. On the other hand work is still relevant, and its task is huge.

More than ever, it is necessary for each of us to work. First of all, work to take care of ourselves, of our parents, our children and our family, then work to contribute to the common wealth available to all (knowledge, art, culture, software, etc.) and finally work to invent and implement, at all levels, the means that will bequeath a liveable planet to future generations.

Far from encouraging idleness, we claim that a basic income will, in the extent of their capabilities and their desire, engage each one serenely, freely and responsibly in an essential activity for the general interest where traditional jobs are not intended to do so.

How to finance the basic income?

First, one idea to finance basic income is to use all means and resources currently allocated to the pursuit of full employment — and the handling of the failure of these policies. Second, the introduction of basic income will require to reconsider our fiscal and social systems, and probably to regain control over the process of money creation they had surrendered to private banks.

Economists have thought about the question in depth and have made the demonstration that it is definitely possible. There is no need to wait for a disaster to start considering this profound transformation. It can be done smoothly and without damage, provided the awareness and commitment is strong and massive. It is to this commitment that, we, signatories of this call want to tend.

What do we have to lose?

Along with the crisis, the illusion of duly paid employment vanished. The habit to define oneself according to a professional activity will certainly disappear for many people as well.

Our proposal is not a panacea: the introduction of basic income will induce ever more questions about our identity, our role in society, our aspiration to procreate in regard with demographic problems, about the quality of the legacy we want to give to our children.

Basic income does not go without deeply questioning many habits. We nevertheless believe that this shift of consciousness and behaviour can be accomplished without violence, and in a spirit of mutual help to each other in order to develop a new culture of responsibility.

What do we have to gain?

The introduction of the basic income challenges the meaning of “work” as usually understood, namely as the basis of capital and social relations. As we know, reducing “work” to the mere “employment” has the effect of automatically excluding the unemployed, because it induces fear of unemployment among workers and social control of helped people. This confusion between “work” and “employment” has a huge cost for our societies, both financially and socially. The psychological and social pathologies that result are simply not sustainable.

We do not expect basic income will settle all problems, but it is absolutely necessary to overcome the current crisis of mistrust by reducing the intolerable level of poverty, exclusion and fear.

Action

At a time when media daily announce the imminence of disasters due to the breakdown of economies, climat change or pandemics, we claim there is a way to face these issues collectively and to gather the driving forces : this is the path of the unconditional basic income.

We, citizens from various background who have signed this appeal, are asking policians from all horizons, labor unions and experts in Greece and around the world, to consider this option in the shortest term to initiate this big transformation with us.