Our Social Europe – Strong Together

The German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, as part of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, organises the conference “Our Social Europe – Strong Together” on 16 September 2020.

In the framework of the conference, Social Platform, together with EAPN, Caritas Europa and Eurodiaconia, will hold a workshop on “Adequate, accessible & enabling minimum income schemes across Europe – The time for action is now!”. But why this focus?

Europe is one of the most prosperous regions in the world. People living in the EU enjoy some of the best living and working conditions and the most comprehensive social protection systems. However, there is a different story behind this overall context. In 2018, more than 109 million people were living at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This amounts to approximately one in five people. Moreover, certain groups are disproportionately affected.

Adequate and guaranteed income plays a key role in reducing the extent and depth of poverty and social exclusion. Minimum income schemes are an integral part of a comprehensive, rights-based and universal social protection system. They play a key role when it comes to enabling people’s full participation in society and to ensuring a life in dignity over the entire course of their lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the need for comprehensive social protection and coordinated EU action. This is why we call for an EU Framework Directive on Adequate Minimum Income to lay the foundation of a basic social safety net, while at the same time reducing poverty and inequalities by fostering upward social convergence within and across EU Member States and mitigating the immediate and long-term socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the workshop, participants will discuss key recommendations, which have been put together by the workshop organisers in this booklet.