Council Recommendation on Minimum income: ‘Not enough to fight poverty’


The European Anti-Poverty Network, of which AGE is a member, has published its position on the recently adopted Council Recommendation on Minimum Income. AGE fully supports the statement by EAPN, which lauds the step taken by the adoption of the Recommendation but regrets that it is not a binding instrument like a Framework Directive.

Across the EU minimum income schemes exist to support all those who are lacking financial resources. However, they are often inadequate in different ways: in terms of coverage, benefit level, conditionality, etc. Pension are no exemption to this rule, as a large share of older persons on minimum incomes live at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

The Council recommendation sets certain standards for adequacy of minimum income schemes and commits EU member states to reducing non-take -up of benefits and encouraging active inclusion through enabling services. However, some important aspects from the initial proposal have been removed from the text adopted by member states.

EAPN regrets that:

  • the rules regarding regular adaptation of benefit levels are less binding than initially envisaged, and
  • the responsibility for reporting on the implementation is with the European Commission, not Member States themselves.

Other issues were not even covered by the initial proposal:

  • there is no methodology for determining reference budgets nor to calculate the amount of money needed to live in dignity,
  • non-discrimination and fight against non-take up is not made concrete for groups that are known to have less access to adequate minimum incomes (Roma, refugees, racialised persons, undocumented migrants).

We support EAPN’s position and have actively contributed to it.

Currently, the Social Platform, the coordination of social NGOs at EU level, where we are also a member, is running an awareness-raising campaign about the importance of minimum income and the cost of living.


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For further information on our work on minimum income, contact Philippe Seidel,

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