Nationwide introduction of the guaranteed minimum wage and increase of the amount payable to each recipient

30 September 2016
E-007326-16
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Notis Marias (ECR)

Since 2010, the European Parliament has stressed the need for a guaranteed minimum wage which will cover European citizens’ basic cost of living and contribute to the Member States’ economic development and social cohesion.

As also stated by Commissioner Thyssen in the European Parliament plenary session held in Strasbourg on 15 September 2016, the guaranteed minimum income should not replace social welfare programmes, but rather strengthen them.

In Greece, the guaranteed minimum wage, now referred to as the ‘Social Solidarity Income’, for the period between 14 July 2016 and 31 December 2016, will apply in only 30 municipalities, despite the fact that in June 2016, unemployment in the country reached 1 124 000.

Bearing in mind the above, what initiatives will the Commission take, in cooperation with the competent Greek authorities, to:

1. Immediately introduce the guaranteed minimum wage nationwide and;
2. To generate a significant increase in the amount paid per beneficiary, to increase the amount of funds allocated to the action concerned?

 

Answer to a written question – Nationwide introduction of the guaranteed minimum wage and increase of the amount payable to each recipient – E-007326/2016

16 March 2017
E-007326/2016
Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is supporting the Greek authorities in the implementation of the new ‘Social Solidarity Income’ scheme, which is a key deliverable under the support programme for Greece supported by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). This universal scheme replaces the so-called ‘humanitarian crisis’ income support measures introduced in 2015(1).

Great care has been taken in the design of the scheme as well as in planning its implementation. In particular, a new Information Technology (IT) infrastructure has been developed and new procedures have been put in place to administer the benefit.

A gradual roll-out in two stages, with the first phase involving 30 municipalities launched in July 2016, was necessary in order to allow for the proper testing of the new system so as to ensure a smooth implementation at national level. The Commission is closely monitoring the implementation of the full roll-out in all Greek municipalities, which started in February 2017.

The introduction of a universal means-tested social safety net is an important step for Greece, which requires a non-negligible effort in terms of its financing(2).

Regarding a possible increase in the generosity of the Social Solidarity Income scheme, this would need to happen in a way that respects the overall fiscal targets agreed by Greece in the context of the ESM programme.

(1) Law 4320/2015.
(2) The overall cost of the Social Solidarity Income roll-out is projected to be around 0.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

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