On Tuesday 10 May, the EESC president Georges Dassis participated in a conference entitled Basic income: one of the ways to increase European economic and social cohesion and escape from the current economic slump? The conference was organised by the trade union Union for Unity, in cooperation with GRASPE and Europe Solidaire, and also featured the Louvain University (UCL) professor and philosopher Philippe Van Parijs, who presented his idea on a universal basic income.
Mr Dassis had the opportunity to present the EESC's opinion on a European minimum income, for which he was rapporteur in 2013. In his speech, he argued that the negative social and economic impact of the crisis and a lack of structural reforms which is fuelling poverty and exclusion in Europe against the backdrop of an ageing population, increased migration flows and growing Euroscepticism, means that the need for a political paradigm that can reinforce solidarity and the fundamental values of Europe's acquired social rights is now a matter of extreme urgency.
In conclusion, Mr Dassis stressed that at such a critical juncture, establishing a European minimum income would help to ensure economic and territorial cohesion, protect the fundamental rights of the individual, guarantee a balance between economic and social objectives and redistribute wealth and income fairly.