Introducing minimum schemes in all EU member states is one of the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty, Employment Committee MEPs say. According to statistics provided by Eurostat (2015), 118.8 million of people in the EU are at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

Most EU countries already have minimum income schemes, but these do not always provide adequate support for those in need. The Employment Committee therefore urges all member states to introduce a minimum income and, if necessary, upgrade existing schemes.

To improve the effectiveness of minimum income schemes, the Employment Committee proposes to:

– set minimum income using the Eurostat at-risk-of-poverty threshold and other indicators
– improve the suitability of the schemes to correspond better to the most vulnerable
– reverse the low rate of take-up among those eligible by raising awareness

Minimum income schemes should combine financial support with easier access to social and public services like housing, health care, education and training. Those that can work should get assistance in gaining access to the labour market, MEPs say.

Rapporteur Laura AGEA (EFDD, IT), said: “Today we do not want only to spark a debate on the issue, but also to oblige the Commission to take a firm stand on it. Poverty and social exclusion do not belong to individual member states, but reflect the state of Europe, which needs to provide answers to this emergency. We propose a twin-track approach: firstly, to curb the social impact of the crisis and secondly, to encourage active employment policies.”