German Catholic Workers have thrown their support behind a Europe-wide push for an unconditional basic income.
– In light of the pandemic, “it is more than clear that we need an unconditional basic income in Europe”
“In view of the effects of the pandemic measures, it is more than clear that we need an unconditional basic income in Europe”, federal chairman of the German Catholic Workers’ Movement (KAB), Andreas Luttmer-Bensmann, explained Thursday in Cologne.
The KAB has for many years been working for the implementation of an unconditional basic income (UBI) that secures an existence free of poverty for every German citizen and thus gives everyone the opportunity to work not only in gainful employment but also to dedicate themselves to education or care, voluntary and family tasks, according to a KAB press release.
However, the workers’ movement is now bringing those years of experience campaigning in Germany to bear on a new European Citizens’ Initiative – “Start Unconditional Basic Incomes throughout the EU” – that kicked off a drive for signatures EU-wide on Friday.
The coronavirus crisis has thrown into high relief the fact that there is no meaningful social security in many EU countries, Luttmer-Bensmann explained.
To remedy that lack of protection, the KAB chairman encouraged members and Catholics more broadly to sign the initiative “and to work for the model of a European basic income”.
“With the Citizens’ Initiative, we have the chance to put this important socio-political topic on the agenda of the EU Commission and the EU Parliament”, Luttermer-Bensmann urged.
– During COVID “the incomes of the weakest have decreased dramatically, while those of the richest have increased”
Information on the “Start Unconditional Basic Incomes throughout the EU” European Citizens’ Initiative
(Source: Pressenza International Press Agency)
A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a kind of popular legislative initiative that is taken to the European Parliament for discussion and possible approval.
It consists of collecting 1 million signatures and identity documents of European citizens that endorse the initiative, with those signatures having to be collected in at least 7 countries of the EU and with minimum numbers of signatures in each country that depend on the number of members each nation elects to the EU Parliament. The maximum period for collecting signatures and documents is 1 year.
Once the campaign is over, and if it has been successful, both the European Commission and the European Parliament must grant an audience to the ECI organisers, also ruling on whether or not they will support the proposal and whether they will take further action to carry the initiative forward.
– What does the Basic Income ECI aim at?
The Basic Income ECI calls on the European Commission to draw up a proposal to introduce universal and unconditional basic income schemes across the EU, thereby reducing regional disparities and strengthening the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU.
This ECI comes at a very opportune moment, because due to the great economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the incomes of the weakest, as always, have decreased dramatically, while, on the contrary, those of the richest have increased.
A permanent unconditional basic income would serve to redistribute wealth a little better and increase equality, guaranteeing a future more tailored to all people and helping to avoid possible social catastrophes.
This is not to mention the enormous psychological benefit that a UBI would bring, by dissipating the anguish about the future that a large percentage of the population feels due to the instability of the labour market and the uncertainty of the times that we have had to live.
The collection of signatures will begin on September 25, 2020, and will run until September 25, 2021. It can be done on paper, but will mainly be done online, thanks to the signature collection website provided by the EU.
The Basic Income ECI has been presented to the European Commission by the Unconditional Basic Income Europe (UBIE) network. Its content can be read on the European Union website.