Ursula von der Leyen, Head of the European Commission, Christine Lagarde, Head of the European Central Bank, Mário Centeno, President of the Eurogroup and Finance ministers of all European Member States
This petition is run by Unconditional Basic Income Europe
We call on the European Union, and the Eurogroup in particular, to create an EU-led financial instrument to support all EU Member States in the quick introduction of an Unconditional Basic Income as an urgency measure, to provide prompt and unbureaucratic relief to everyone in Europe whose economic security and existence is threatened by the coronavirus crisis.
Why is this important?
Universal basic income is making waves all over the world: France is discussing it, and even the pope is calling for a version of it. Only European leaders - who are supposedly meeting to bail out people - have not uttered a word -- yet.
With Europeans massively calling for an emergency UBI, will they take it up?
The corona-crisis hit the EU just as everyone in Brussels was already looking for a way out of a doldrums. The looming climate crisis and the pains of Brexit were prompting bold answers -- but as is often the case, processes rattled on and discussions got stuck.
The current emergency is a call to be bold. More than that: it is a one in a lifetime opportunity to reinvent Europe for the generations to come. It is not an exaggeration to say that if today’s leaders manage to use this opportunity well, they could achieve what every European politician dreams of: go down in history as those that got a faltering Europe back on track.
There is a rescue package on the way, discussed in the weekly Council and Eurogroup meetings. But right now the EU needs much, much more than a rescue package that is designed for a world that no longer exists. The striking rise spike of anti-European sentiment in Covid-struck Italy shows the dangers of an insufficient EU-led response.
The EU response Europe awaits must not only provide instant, tangible and effective relief to its citizens and but must also must let them feel that this support is coming from the European Union. A Europe-wide basic income would do just that.
What is emergency basic income and why do we need it?
Universal basic income is cash which every month appears on everyone’s bank accounts in an amount which allows them to cover basic life needs: rent, bills, groceries. It is also called unconditional, which means that everyone gets it with no conditions about income or status and no requirements such as looking for a job. This makes it highly unbureaucratic and makes sure that no person in need misses out.
For now the European rescue plans focus on keeping people employed - and rightly so. But there is no way around it: we have not yet felt the worst of the economic fallout. Many more businesses and entire sectors will close, many freelancers and contract workers will be left without occupation. Artists, barbers, taxi drivers, cleaners, restaurant managers, music teachers, gym trainers, hotel receptionists, flight attendants, tour guides and countless others don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills right now, not to mind in future.
The corona-crisis is an external shock affecting both supply and demand. Yes, corporations need support right now so that they can relaunch once the lock-downs end. But there will be no reboot of the economy if millions more are allowed to slide into poverty. AEconomists point out that a universal basic income scheme for the immediate emergency and the time immediately afterwards can provide the necessary stimulus igniter for the economy now and help to maintain it in the future.
Studies on the universal basic income show how to conduct and finance such a scheme. In ‘normal times’ a UBI should be paid for through strong, progressive taxation. As our campaigns have shown, Europe could raise one trillion in a year by just closing tax havens. But an emergency situation calls for alternative short-term measures, such as quantitative easing by the ECB, which has been used to support the financial sector. We can use similar measures, ‘helicopter money’ to support human beings through UBI.
With growing support by Europeans and successful experiments around the world, it is high time our leaders acknowledge that Universal Basic Income is a solution they must consider -- and get it on the agenda.
Tomorrow, top EU politicians are meeting to decide on the European answer to the coronacrisis. Many proposals are on the table -- but European basic income is not one of them! This is our chance to tell our leaders: put European basic income on your agenda! If we can make this issue explode on their Twitter feeds, it will show the decision-makers that we demand bold moves and they’ll have to react.
Will you help make this action really big? Send a Tweet now to top EU politicians - tell Charles Michel (head of the European Council) and Ursula von der Leyen (Head of the European Commission):
Listen to the people of Europe! Add European basic income to your agenda on Thursday