The European Citizen Initiative (ECI), which calls for the establishment of a Universal and Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) for all people residing in the European Union, was accepted by the European Commission on Friday May 15, 2020.
The General Secretariat of the European Citizen Initiative Team (which is part of the European Commission) has communicated the registration of the ECI proposal, entitled “Establishment of an unconditional basic income, throughout the European Union“, to the organizers.
An ECI is a kind of popular legislative initiative which is presented to the European Parliament for discussion and possible approval. It involves collecting a million signatures and identity documents from European citizens who support the initiative, in at least 7 countries of the European Union (EU). In these countries, the signatures must reach a minimum number which depends of the respective population. The period for collecting signatures and documents is one year. Signature collection will be possible on paper, but especially online, thanks to the web platform which will be provided by the EU.
This ECI was presented by the network Unconditional Basic Income Europe (UBIE), to which European individuals and groups can affiliate, among them the Spanish organisation Humanists for Universal Basic Income. Although the deadline given by the European Commission to start collecting signatures ends on November 15, 2020, representatives of UBIE note that “this will probably start during Basic Income Week, between September 14 and 20 of this year.” (https://ubi-europe.net/ubi/new-european-citizens-initiative-for-basic-income/)
Until then, work will focus on forming a signature collection platform. And that is why people and groups of all kinds are encouraged to participate, whether local, cultural, political, etc. Anyone wishing to participate in this initiative, whether an individual or an organization, can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This ECI offers an excellent opportunity to put the issue of the UBI at the forefront of the social debate, by showing that it is the best vaccine against economic precarity and social exclusion and by obtaining greater dissemination and more information specific to this issue, which is often silenced or distorted.
The process of this ECI was not without complications, since it was first presented in January 2020, but the text was rejected by the European Commission, because it did not strictly respect European legislation and corrections had to be made so that it could be recorded, which was finally done on May 15.
Translated from French by Lulith Van
Angel Bravo is the ECI coordinator for Spain.