European Citizens’ Initiative
There is still time for you to sign the European Citizens’ Initiative “Unconditional Basic Income”. This initiative works to establish unconditional basic income throughout the EU.
Written by Lea Gormsen 20-10-2021
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) started collecting signatures in September 2020 and by now (13-10-2021) they have collected 153.264 signatures. The organisers of this citizens’ initiative believe that basic income can strengthen the economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU. The basic income initiative will be a means to combat inequality by securing every citizen in the EU economically. You will be paid money even when you do not have a job.
An ECI is a mechanism for EU citizens to get involved in EU policymaking. For an initiative to be successful, the organizers need to collect 1 million signatures from citizens of at least 7 different EU countries. If they succeed the European Commission must listen and consider their proposition.
It is true that the topic of basic income has been a widely discussed topic in recent years, but the idea of basic income stems back from the 16th century. The English philosopher and statesman Thomas More mentions the idea of basic income in his book called Utopia from the 16th century, and the idea has been brought up multiple other times throughout history. Today the topic is discussed by philosophers, economists, activists, politicians, doctors and the list goes on. Recently, even Pope Francis has stated his support for this idea. But what exactly is basic income?
- It is a universal payment for everyone without means test.
- Everyone includes every man, every woman and every child.
- It is an unconditional right – you do not have to work, demonstrate willingness-to-work or to be involved in community service etc.
- The amount of money should be high enough for you to live a good life that meets the standards of today’s society.
The organisers believe that basic income makes room for life – people are not restricted by their income in the same way as now. They can leave a horrible job that pays too little because they know they will be secure. Also this system can grow a country’s internal market because people have more money to use – which means the cash flow will grow.
But the list of arguments against basic income is as long as the arguments for it. Basic income can take away the need to work and therefore encourage laziness. Some people will exploit the system by never working. Especially lower prestige jobs will be forsaken because noone would have the motivation to do them. At the sametime employers would have no reason to increase wages beyond what is mandatory.
The UBI would target EVERYONE which also includes the richest people in the EU that definitely do not need it. A system like this should be targeting the poorest. The state would also need to borrow a lot of money in order to be able to sustain the basic income payments whcih could hurt the economy.
The future of the ECI
The organisers also claim that the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have already stated that they will support an efficient, sustainable and equitable social protection system that will guarantee basic income for all of EU’s member states. The organisers feel it is time they act on their words! If you also want basic income for yourself, your family and your country you can sign the initiative here. Also check in on Our Only Home where we will be posting updates on the initiative.