Ik sprak op 23 januari 2018 in het parlement van de Raad van Europa over het basisinkomen. Er zijn veel verschillende manieren om dit in te vullen of toe te passen, maar bij Groen kiezen we resoluut voor een ‘welvaartsgarantie’ die garandeert dat iedereen een voldoende hoog inkomen heeft, ook wanneer iemand minder wil of kan werken.

Herbeluister en lees mijn speech hieronder:

Ms De SUTTER (Belgium, Spokesperson for the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group) –

Poverty and income inequality are growing in most countries. It is pessimistic to start with such a statement about the future, but the facts do not lie. As Ms Catalfo mentions in her report, the 2012 Gini index showed that the highest rates of income inequality were recorded in Georgia, Russia, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria, but also in Portugal and Spain.

Citizenship income could be a solution to bridge these income inequalities, but, and this is important, everything depends on how we interpret “basic income”. It can be interpreted in a liberal way or in a social way.

Citizenship income can in no way completely replace social security systems and will always need some form of correction. On the other hand, corrections are also possible so that people who want to work will earn more than people who do not work. There are different models and systems.

Governments have a duty to guarantee social protection for every citizen, including residents, migrants and vulnerable people, although many member States do not always seem to comply with that duty. The European Committee of Social Rights is very critical of what is happening in our region and the commitment of States to the social charter.

Let us face the truth: we cannot ignore the fact that the pressure of the free market is challenging our social models.

Philipp Blom made a relevant comment in his latest book, saying that the market must be there for democracy, not the other way round. We are not advancing any more. Social inequality is dangerous; it is a threat to democracy. In this negative context, any idea, analysis or proposal that could lead to a reinforcement of our social rights, reducing social inequality, must be welcomed. That is how we must see the debate on citizenship income; we must have the political will to think outside the box and reinvent some of our social models.

At first, I was rather critical of the idea of a basic income, but the report encourages me to believe that it is possible to create a better future for the 45 million people who have a disposable income below the poverty threshold.

It is possible to streamline all social statuses and guarantee a basic income unconditionally, as well as for unpaid work. This could be the cornerstone of a renewed human-centred social system if we show courage and the political will.