In Budapest, a conference and workshops on the topic of unconditional basic income, organised by UBIE and its partners in Hungary, took place on the weekend of 23-25 November.
At the conference on Friday 25th, experts, politicians and specialists spoke about their ideas, suggestions and experiences. After each round of discussion the audience could ask questions or share their comments. (Detailed programme in English can be found here).
At the workshops on Saturday and Sunday the 24th and 25th, the idea and feasibility of a European Citizens’ Initiative were further developed, as well as possible strategies for the upcoming European elections in May 2019.
Five scenarios were discussed for a European Citizens’ Initiative:
- Unconditional basic income: an unconditional basic income (UBI) is an income which is granted unconditionally to all members of a political community on an individual basis without proof of need and without obligation to work. Unlike many other existing minimum income schemes in European countries, UBI would universal, individual, unconditional and high enough to ensure an existence that preserves personal dignity and enables individual active participation in society.
- Eurodividend: The Eurodividend would be a cash payment, of for example 200 Euro per month on average, to every EU resident. This payment would be free of consideration, so there would be no obligation to work, and it would be made without proof of need. The main difference between the Eurodividend and an unconditional basic income is that the amount of the dividend would not be sufficient to secure one’s livelihood.
- A “compromise solution”: the EU should pay each EU resident a basic income, measured by the subsistence level of the poorest country in Europe. According to statistics, this is Bulgaria, the amount would be about 135 euros per month, which would then be supplemented by each state accordingly to reach the respective subsistence level.
- Pilot projects: the EU should carry out pilot projects with the unconditional basic income in order to collect more data.
- EU child benefit: which would, in principle, be a Eurodividend for persons under 18 years of age.
The final decision on the proposal to be presented as a Citizens’ Initiative to the EU Commission will be taken at the next general assembly in Brussels in spring 2019.