Press release: A European campaign for the right to an Unconditional Basic Income

Official communication from the European Citizen’s initiative committee. All groups promoting our initiative may reuse this statement.

In recognition of the fact that the ongoing crisis in Europe has led to massive unemployment and left many people behind, groups of citizens from 15 European countries have collaborated on the idea of working for an Unconditional Basic Income for all European citizens. A Basic Income must be universal, individual, unconditional and high enough to prevent material poverty and provide the opportunity to actively participate in society. The general idea behind an Unconditional Basic Income is to allow for a better distribution of jobs and opportunities thus supporting decent living conditions for everyone.

While being a radical tool for fighting inequality and poverty, Basic Income is also a way to simplify many welfare benefit rules and procedures leading to significant savings in the public budgets.

The organizers of the initiative invite people to leave their statement of support on the joint website

The general organizer of the initiative, Klaus Sambor from ATTAC Austria underlines the symbolic dimension of the campaign: “The broad collaboration of groups from 15 European countries participating in the preparation of this initiative demonstrates that the long-standing idea of an Unconditional Basic Income is now gaining momentum.”

It is important to note that this campaign is not a standard petition but a European Citizens’ Initiative, a new participative process by which a group of 7 citizens may ask directly the EU institutions to take action on a specific topic.

Formally called “Unconditional Basic Income – Exploring a path toward emancipatory welfare in the EU”, the initiative was accepted by the European Commission on January 14th.

The initiative must now collect one million signatures before January 14, 2014, while reaching a minimum threshold in at least 7 member states. If we succeed, the European Commission will have to examine the initiative carefully and offer a public hearing in the European Parliament.

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This post is also available in: Dutch

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