The rapporteur met with MEP Estrella Dura Ferrandis (ES/S&D), shadow rapporteur of the file on 16 November 2022. The MEP asked to receive the draft opinion in order to incorporate elements in her report ahead of the EP EMPL Committee meeting on 30 November 2022.
European Parliament adopted a resolution on minimum income on 15 March 2023. Several points were identical with the CoR opinion: a call for evaluation in 2027 (instead of 2032 mentioned in the proposal); call for swift implementation of Directive (EU) 2022/2041; both call for special attention to help reduce youth unemployment.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- points out that, while the Recommendation is a first step in the right direction, the acknowledgement of the urgent need for action to guarantee a minimum income across the EU begs further reflection as to the most effective regulatory framework to implement such action at European level; - notes that the urgency of the situation requires a stricter timetable for implementing the Recommendation, and the CoR therefore proposes that this be brought forward to 2027;
- welcomes the fact that the European Commission recognises the need to involve all levels of government in the fight against poverty. Local and regional authorities are best placed to actively reach out to people requiring support and identify the specific needs of individuals in order to develop people-centred pathways towards active inclusion in society;
- stresses the need for an updated, fully-fledged European benchmarking framework for minimum income schemes, based on a transparent approach and comparable data, which would facilitate a common understanding of the concept at European level and among Member States;
- underlines that, in order for the minimum income to meet its objective of combatting poverty and social exclusion, it must keep up with inflation, especially the rising cost of living for food and energy. Therefore, the Committee fully supports the proposed recommendation for an annual review at Member State level, considering this to be a key prerequisite for the efficient and effective implementation of the measure;
- is concerned that the Recommendation does not spell out what "proportionate" or "gradual" action mean. At the same time, the Committee calls for a general framework to be set up for legal residence requirements;
- requests that the definitions of enabling and essential services set out in the Recommendation be complemented and not replaced by national definitions, so that this indicative list of services can be applied across the EU. This particularly applies to digital communications, which are not given the status of an essential service throughout the EU.