Feb 6, 2013

Will European Citizens support an Unconditional Basic Income?

Initiative details - European Citizens' Initiative - European Commission:
Unconditional Basic Income - Exploring a pathway towards emancipatory welfare conditions in the EU

This is a 1-year campaign to gather 1 million signatures from at least 7 countries in the EU, to table a legislative proposal on unconditional basic income for the EU. This campaign started on 14th January 2013. Whatever the outcome, it will be a big step forward for citizen awareness, that citizens have a right to a basic income, or a citizen-ownership dividend.

"The strategy deployed by the various organizations involved in the ECI is mostly to initiate a signal to all citizens: for the first time in the world, organizations and citizens of fourteen countries  (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, United Kingdom) decided to join forces to promote the basic income. Clearly it is only a first step in the creation of a Europe-wide social movement around this idea."

The proposal describes in detail how a basic income is essential for people's fundamental rights under the EU. Financial rights, either in the form of an unconditional basic income or a citizen-ownership income, are essential for a person to enjoy the basic civil and social rights. Without financial rights, people may be forced to sell themselves into slavery, or forced to engage in very dangerous occupations.

The ECI is also on Facebook.

"Main objectives:In the long run the objective is to offer to each person in the EU the unconditional right as an individual, to having his/her material needs met to ensure a life of dignity as stated by the EU treaties, and to empower participation in society supported by the introduction of the UBI. In the short term, initiatives such as “pilot‐studies“ (Art 156 TFEU) and examination of different models of UBI (EP resolution 2010/2039(INI) §44) should be promoted by the EU.

Parts of this annex are extracted below. 

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on
Functioning of the European Union 2010/C83/01 (30th March 2010)

Article 1

Human dignity
Human dignity is inviolable.
It must be respected and protected.
Reasons for Unconditional Basic Income:
The dignity of the individual must include the opportunity of living freely and
responsibly within society. The Unconditional Basic Income grants freedom to
each individual and a life in responsibility by removing existential and
administrative constraints as well as exclusion from social life.

Article 2
Right to life (1)
Everyone has the right to life.
Reasons for Unconditional Basic Income:
This human right to life is undisputed. Within our present economic system, life
depends on obtaining material existence through funds. Of course, one could
also obtain this using vouchers. The users of such vouchers would be
discriminated against compared with individuals who are free to decide how to
use their finances from different sources of income. The legal right to a
Unconditional Basic Income transfer payment ensures a dignified life with the
opportunity to participate in society, and also fulfills the right to a life of
justice, free from discrimination.

Article 6
Right to liberty and security
Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.
Reasons for Unconditional Basic Income:
The Unconditional Basic Income supports the free choice of personal life-style,
European Citizens' Initiative on Unconditional Basic Income (Annex) - page 5/7
the arrangement of one’s social relations and whether to engage in social and
economic cooperation. With freedom comes responsibility in solidarity. In
addition to the protection provided by the current social insurance systems and
social services, the UBI is the best guarantee of financial security during times
of illness and unemployment.

Article 15
Freedom to choose an occupation and right to engage in work
1. Everyone has the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or
accepted occupation.
Reasons for Unconditional Basic Income:
The Unconditional Basic Income makes it easier to practise a freely chosen, or
at least acceptable, occupation. Under many current income maintenance
systems, the need for material goods and services in order to survive, together
with various administrative constraints, restricts one’s freedom of choice of
occupation and forces one to accept unsuitable paid work.

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