Κυριακή, 23 Ιουλίου 2017

The EU approach to the adoption of GMI and the Greek case

The EU approach to the adoption of GMI
and the Greek case

Constantine D. GEORMAS
PhD in Sociology




This study will follow four steps. Firstly there will be a short discussion of the developments in the field of social protection and the variations of the idea of ​​a basic income. This is necessary in order to establish a framework within which the debate on the minimum guaranteed income. The second step is to outline the implementation of the institution of GMI in Europe. The third step is the European Union's approach to the minimum guaranteed income. It is essential because, as has been pointed out "The knowledge and assimilation of transnational social policies is now necessary condition for designing and implementing social policy programmes at the national level" (Sakellaropoulos, 2001.15). Especially when that organization is the European Union. The forth step is the reaction of the Greek state in the European constitution Finally, the fifth step provides a description of the requirements and the process for the introduction of guaranteed minimum income in Greece.

1. Poverty and social exclusion, and a guaranteed minimum income

Modern societies, although abundant societies face the paradox of the persistence of poverty and social exclusion. The hitherto existing resources and social policy measures and have significant results in reducing these phenomena, they can not eliminate them. Suffice it to say that even the most efficient countries of Europe in the fight against poverty have rates of nearly 12% (Denmark and Sweden). Across the European Union the risk of poverty is 17% with Greece reaches 20% (Eurostat-2007).
The problem of poverty and social exclusion can only be tackled with a multidimensional policy that responds to all the factors that are causing the problem. From this perspective, policy measures to address the problem beyond the narrow framework of social policy and seek a combination of policies in the economic, social and political level (Atkinson 1998, Barry 1998, Bowring 2000, Gans 1995, Mayes 2001, O ' Connor 2000, Offe 1996).
At economic level priority is for measures to combat unemployment. Key measures here is the reduction of hours of employment and lifelong learning. At the political level there is an urgent need of rehabilitation of the lower classes, the poor and marginalized in the political process. Finally, at the societal level requires strengthening the welfare state and the introduction of a basic income for all citizens. However, as noted by Guy Standing «To say that" the poor are always with us' is true simply because the politicians and policy makers decided that it must be so »(Standing, 2003, 1)
The basic idea of ​​guaranteed income has long history and fans both the right and the left. Already in 1796 the Thomas Paine in Agrarian Justice proposed a form of (Paine 1945). Implemented in England in the 1820's, but quickly abandoned. Nominated again from the Social Credit Movement in the decades of 1920 and 1930 in Great Britain and later the U.S. Senate. (Gkorz 1986, Murray 1997). In the neoliberal version presented by Milton Friedman to the negative income tax and by ensuring that a minimum guaranteed income that would replace all other welfare benefits (Friedman 1962). The dialogue throughout the 1960's until the early 1970's was intense. Then the debate around the basic income slacks to present a more comprehensive manner by Gkorz (Gkorz 1986). Not accidentally in France at that time institutionalized and Minimum Income Inclusion (Rosanvallon 2000) while globally was intense dialogue on establishing the 35. Result of intense dialogue was the organization of a conference around the basic income, where issued and the various proposals for the implementation and the positive impact of a basic income (Parijs, 1992). The discussion on basic income intensified since the mid 1990's onwards, and expected to become one of the main pillars of social policy for the next year. The main reasons for this is the exacerbation of the problems of poverty and social exclusion, the failure of safety nets to prevent these phenomena, the further course of democratization of society and the efforts to preserve the dignity of citizens.
A commonly accepted definition, for fans of the basic income is "income that is unconditional on a weekly or monthly basis to every man, woman and child as an individual right of citizenship and therefore without reference to employment, job career, intend to seek employment or if someone is married or not »(Fitzpatrick, 1999, 3).


2. The strategy of the European Union

Although a full form of basic income not yet been adopted in any country, there are many countries that have introduced a more limited form of the guaranteed minimum income. The GMI systems aimed at ensuring minimum standards of living for individuals and their dependents shall, when they have no other means of income support. The application of these in practice has developed a wide range of systems that differ with respect to targeting, criteria, requirements, beneficiaries and the amount of benefits.
However, it is commonly accepted that the main motive behind the establishment of minimum guaranteed income is the effort to ensure the dignity of individuals. He is also an effective measure for combating poverty and social exclusion (Frazer, 2009:11).


As a set of other actions in the area of ​​social policy, it seems that the issue of minimum guaranteed income is a topic at European level launched by Delors. He, obviously influenced by the discussion that took place in France at that time promoted the issue of adopting a policy at European level for the minimum guaranteed income. Indeed, the debate was about the configuration directive on this issue, but the reactions of some Member States were culminating their adoption as recommendations.

The two recommendations arising from a decision of the Council of 1989. The first recommendation 92/441/EEC for the "common criteria concerning sufficient resources and adequate social assistance in social protection systems" was particularly important. The Commission recognizes that economic growth alone will not be sufficient to achieve the goal of social inclusion and that there was the need for specific policies. He made clear reference to the need for Member States to ensure that within the framework of social protection of the basic right to adequate resources that enable it to live in a manner "consistent with human dignity." In other words, the Recommendation 92/441/EEC (Council, 1992a) introduced for the first time the issue of a guaranteed minimum income or some other equivalent benefits.
The second recommendation relates to the modernization of social protection systems. The recommendation was referred to the necessary adjustment of social protection systems in order to meet the objective of ensuring the fundamental right to adequate and quality resources. Indeed, outlining how they have adopted the goal of "minimum adequate resources." First, the amount needed to cover basic needs, according to the standard of living of each country and should also be reviewed at regular intervals. Please note however that we should not act as a disincentive to finding work. The measure should be complemented with counseling. Obviously influenced by the French experience recommendation stated that the aid should be linked to training (Council, 1992v, Sakellaropoulos, 2001:213-220).
The second recommendation relates to the "convergence of objectives and policies of social protection" (Council, 1992a, Sakellaropoulos ,2001:185-189). This recommendation states that social protection is an "instrument of solidarity." Also social protection systems should ensure:
a) a decent standard of living,
b) access to quality health services,
c) combating social exclusion.

In 2000, launched the Lisbon Strategy with the three pillars of intervention, growth, employment and social cohesion. Although the pillar of social cohesion was theoretically equal to the others, for him not set goals and objectives and was not binding. The minimum guaranteed income is a reference in the introductory text which stated that "the national social assistance and minimum income schemes are important policy measures in the field of social protection" (Council, 2000). Also the target 1.2 "Facilitating access to resources, rights, goods and services" urged Member States to organize their social protection systems so as "to contribute to ensuring the necessary resources for a decent life for all."
 2005 takes place remodeling of the Lisbon Strategy. With the argument that we need better targeting, the social dimension of the Strategy is eliminated and remain targets of Europe Development and Employment. The integrated guidelines adopted there is no reference to the minimum guaranteed income. That same year review and the objectives of the OMC is supposed to improve the application. And here are the references to the guaranteed minimum income eliminated. The goals now are calling for the "promotion of social cohesion and equal opportunities for all through adequate, accessible, financially sustainable, adaptable and efficient social protection systems and social inclusion policies." Further invites Member States to work towards "securing active social inclusion of all by promoting participation in the labor market and by fighting poverty and exclusion among marginalized individuals and groups" (European Commission, 2005).
For its part, the Commission has a somewhat different strategy. Agenda Social Policy 2000-2005 (Commission 2000), which would assist the goals adopted by the Council in the field of social inclusion, the reference to the minimum guaranteed income is elliptical and is simply why social protection systems to ensure a safe income. On the contrary, as the references to the guaranteed minimum income disappear from the decisions of the Council, the Commission shall bring the matter to the Social Agenda 2005 which announces and initiative on the issue.
Regular Commission for a total area of ​​employment and social inclusion seems to be based, first, on a configuration policy flexicurity with regard to employment, which will include all the guidelines for employment. Secondly, in the area of ​​social inclusion, it seems to attempt to unify all the targets in the sense of active membership. Reference to both concepts are the guidelines of 2008-2010.
The concept of active inclusion based on three lines of action to combat poverty and social exclusion.
A) The income support at a level sufficient to enable people to live decently.
B) The contact with the labor market through job opportunities or vocational training
C) facilitating access to social services.
As stated in the Commission communication, active membership is fully complementary to the approach of 'flexicurity jobs ", while targeting those at the margins of the labor market. Configures an "active welfare state" by providing personalized pathways to employment and providing for those unable to work, the ability to live in dignity and contribute as much as possible in society.
In spring 2006, the Commission launches a public consultation aimed at promoting the active inclusion of people furthest from the labor market (European Commission, 2006). In consultation involved and the Social Protection Committee and the final version was also based on the conclusions of the Council of Ministers and the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
The communication which launched the consultation referred commonality with the GMI systems in Europe. These are that:
• basic needs to ensure minimum standards of living, providing assistance for individuals and their dependents, when no other source of financial aid •
• is non-contributory and funded from taxes •
• mostly do not have time constraints, though supposed to be temporary •
• require competent people available for work •
• subject to the control of resources and, to some extent, discretionary •
• The eligibility depends on age and place of residence for a minimum specified period •
• The benefits usually depend on the household situation of the family and are often combined with other social benefits (housing, heating, child allowances).
On 3 October 2008 the European Commission adopted the Recommendation on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labor market while also adopted a Communication entitled similar (Commission 2008).
The Recommendation does nothing more than set out the three pillars of active inclusion policy, while often referred in the 1992 Recommendation. The three axes of intervention are:
A) Adequate income support
B) labor markets that promote integration
C) access to quality services.
In Recommendation also recognizes the right of individuals to sufficient resources and social assistance so that they can lead a life consistent with human dignity. On the other hand stressed that it should be available either for labor market integration, training or other measures of social integration.
Of particular importance is the third pillar of quality services as deemed necessary element of social inclusion. Such services may be welfare services, employment and training, social housing, child care, long term care, health services. Finally, special mention is the fact all the information about their rights and the need for simple administrative procedures in the provision of services and resources.
 The above sketch the outline of the strategy decided by the Commission in relation to the guaranteed minimum income. So it is time to see how Greece has implemented the recommendations above.

3. The response of the Greek state in European Recommendations

The adoption of the Open Method of Coordination for Social Inclusion in 2000 marked the beginning of the recommendations to Greece by the European Commission for the adoption of part of our country a system of guaranteed minimum income. Already the Draft Joint Report on Social Inclusion, 2001 (Commission, 2001), stated that Greece "has neither adopted a poverty line or a national minimum income." Observed the coexistence of a wide variety of benefits, and the need for uniformity.
The same recommendation was repeated the next year with the additional note that "the coverage [provided by categorical grants to vulnerable groups] has been extended to new groups in recent years» (European Commision, 2004, Council, 2007).
In conclusion, Greece summoned for having not gone yet to adopt the measure GMI. While it is accepted that some steps have been taken in this direction, the Commission notes that the full introduction of measures that can correct a variety of chronic weaknesses of the Greek social security system as well as the fragmentation that distinguishes it.
In these recommendations, the official response of the Greek side all these years was the absence of any initiative. The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2001-2003 recognizes the fact that "for allowance payments in cash are important and are a serious supplement income groups such as the unemployed, the elderly, families with children, or people with disabilities ... In the coming years, developments in society, economy and family reinforce the need thickening of this tissue coverage "(Ministry of Labour, 2001:6). Moreover, in that the National Action Plan was mentioned that "the combination of income transfers, infrastructure and services contribute effectively to social inclusion and independence from welfare, providing beneficiaries with the necessary resources for their activation, especially in matters of employment" . So let suspicions Plan for the introduction of minimum income in the future. By contrast, the next NAP, using aggressive formulations against GMI, even with expressions that do not belong in the country report to the European Commission. The guaranteed minimum income as a measure of accused 'sensationalism' as far as' against the interests of citizens "and" discrediting social solidarity. " The report even introduced novel classes of social policy such as "failure", the "discomfort" and "civil rights abuses." The introduction of guaranteed minimum would result, argues the author of the text, "the big losers [to] those who are truly needy" (Ministry of Labour). Admittedly, the aggressive tones against a universal measure of income support for the most vulnerable groups of the population have never seen even on fiery neoliberal institutions such as the World Bank (Geormas, 2004).
Subsequently, the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2005-2006, abandoned opposition towards the introduction of GMI and adopted a position which bears resemblance to that of NAP 2001-2003. Thus, reference was made to "ensure a decent socio-economic standard of living for those over 65. Notes that the National Dialogue for the insurance must be aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring a decent minimum pension, supplemented by a series of other goods and services such as health, transport, housing, etc. (Ministry of Labour, 2005:42) In other words, it adopted a categorical approach to the issue, but stressed that access to services in maintaining a decent life. Even more obvious reference is made to the National Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2010, where the strategic directions for the next period were the "actions related to ensuring a decent socio-economic living standards of vulnerable groups through a) upgrade their skills and their integration into the labor market and b) the income and other support them "(Ministry of Labor, 2008).
One of the main measures mentioned was the establishment of the National Social Cohesion Fund and targeted actions to address the problem of poverty. However, the Fund, as well as other pre-announced actions in the past, remained inactive and the current government has announced the abolition.
In conclusion, it can be noted that after the adoption of the Open Method of Coordination on social inclusion, the policy chosen by the Greek government in response to repeated recommendations for the introduction of guaranteed minimum income remains constant. Without expressed general opposition to the measure, not the other initiatives taken to implement it. The recognition of the need to cover the deficit of decent living by large sections of the population, treated either with announcements measures not implemented, either by entering, at times categorical benefits.
Another issue affecting the National Plans of Action is the belief that economic growth will help fight poverty, so many times the policy measures presented have to do with economics. Unfortunately, for fans of this visa, which strangely seem to belong to different political attitudes, the data do not seem to believe in their optimism. The economic development of all previous years, at least since 2001-filed reports do not seem to have affected the level of poverty in the country. Indeed, recent years have seen a steady increase in inequality and introduces some new disturbing phenomena such as the increase in child poverty.
In conclusion, however, the approach of the National Action Plans to the minimum guaranteed income does not appear to be negative. In general, however, qualify, at least programmatically, the categorical approach to fighting poverty through actions designed to strengthen certain income groups. Further to strengthen esodimatiki a reference to the need to develop social services, so even mentioned the concept of "decent socio-economic standard of living." Therefore, we observe that this approach resembles that of the European Commission, as described above.


4. The particularity of the Greek welfare state and the objectives of the introduction of GMI

According to Sakellaropoulos and Economou, the methods through which affects Europe in the social policy of the country is three: proclamations, legislative arrangements and cohesion policy resources, especially the resources of the European Social Fund (Sakellaropoulos, 2006:25; Sakellaropoulos & Economou 2006). To these must be added the Lisbon strategy and the OMC for social protection and social inclusion.
The minimum guaranteed income can not be implemented through European influence for two reasons: a) there is an obligation arising from a directive and therefore is not mandatory, and b) Community resources, due to the regulations of the Structural Funds, it may be used for such benefits. So the issue is fully national and mainly affects the characteristics of the formulation of Greek welfare state.
The fact that the development of this social state has been delayed and incomplete, and that this state does not have any systematic application of social planning in the long term has been emphasized by many authors (Sakellaropoulos 2006.8, Petmesidou-Tsoulouvi 1992).
Throughout the rest of Europe, the main concern of policy-makers, when they form their first institutions of social protection, was to maintain the cohesion of the nation, to include all citizens in a social system form (de Neubourg, 2009, 64). That is precisely the Jessop calls it the National Keynesian welfare state (Jessop, 1999). In Greece, however, as the Kikilias 'criteria for access to social benefits have very little to do with ensuring social citizenship' (Kikilias, 2007). In other words, far from being universal.
In Greece therefore lacks universality of social institutions such porstasias tortuous development of the nation state. That is why the Greek social protection system has been developed in a piecemeal fashion and without the existence of an overall design. The benefits appear to have been developed on the basis of political criteria-customer and the emphasis is on numerous categorical income transfers. The Greek social protection system largely dominated by social security and little attention has been paid to the welfare of this section. (Sotiropoulos, 2003, 2004 Matsaganis, Contiades, 2008, Kikilias 2007).
The problematic development of the welfare state in Greece certainly has a significant impact on the ineffectiveness of policies against poverty and social exclusion. The large informal sector, contribution evasion, lack of extensive manufacturing base, odd dialyzed insurance to welfare are problems facing the minimum guaranteed income.
Moreover, the introduction of a Catholic institution is a means to combat customer configurations of social benefits. Even more, as shown by the European experience, the universalisation of benefits and will contribute to improve the quality of both the administrative structures and services offered.


5. Steps to establish a system of minimum guaranteed income in Greece

Let us now come to the steps that are necessary for the introduction of guaranteed minimum income in our country. The first question that arises is whether the first will introduce a guaranteed minimum income and then to build the welfare state in the country or vice versa. Is a question that has not been analyzed sufficiently, nor in our country nor in the wider debate surrounding the introduction of a basic income. However, the argument that "the full development of the welfare state deserves to have priority over the basic income [valid] because the latter does not fulfill an essential function of the welfare state: ensuring that specific social needs will be fulfilled" These social needs are not other than goods of a particular social value, such as education, health, social housing, public transport, social services. It is clear that the introduction of a basic income or even GMI will create critical financial and ethical problems.
The above discussion relates directly to our topic because through this highlights the main principle that should guide our actions. As Paugam says in discussing the French experience a major issue to be resolved is the principle on the basis of which will be allocated by any provision (Paugam, 2003). This principle I think it is none other than securing a decent socio-economic standard of living for everyone. Note that this principle is consistent with European policy, but also the international debate on social policy issues, to the extent that combines benefits services. Reach the same conclusion as studies of EKKE stating that "the effort of implementing a program of GMI in Greece should not be running out to provide financial aid, but also include actions to promote social inclusion and equal opportunities. In this sense, the minimum guaranteed income will not operate as an independent measure, but as complementary measures already included in the existing social welfare policies. More generally, the proper application of the subject is accompanied by a set of social services ... "(Task Force, 2007:209).
The second important issue has to do with the issue of media for the desired social intervention, namely the issue of the administration. The literature emphasizes that GMI systems work best when embedded in a well-organized social protection systems. Moreover, it is the consensus view that "universal benefits [more] attractive from the standpoint of building a democratic state. [This is because] The implementation of control with income transfers require a robust and sophisticated enough bureaucratic structure often is not available to countries build capacity in social policy (de Neubourg, 2009,70). How then will solve one of the most critical issues that have made any proposals to introduce a guaranteed minimum income in our country, namely the problem of administration that will take over the provision of? (Spyropoulos, 2007, 2007 Balfoussia, Matsaganis 2004). The development of adequate and effective social management action is necessary for the introduction of a guaranteed minimum income. Functions such as planning, the necessary income controls, choice groups, counseling and social services, can only be brought out by a central administration. The creation of a Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity, the concentration of the corresponding functions are dispersed in various other ministries are decisive step for the smooth operation of GMI.
Of course, the problem also has to do with the general underdevelopment of the state in Greece and related phenomena such as the underground economy, tax evasion and contribution evasion. The formation of a rule of law in our country will interact positively with the introduction of guaranteed minimum income since the latter, in particular, through the control of revenue "and carries an 'audit' mode as it prevents people apparently illegal subsidy with income from employment and the informal economy "(Matsaganis, 2004:123).
Finally, the issue is related to both the inter-ministerial cooperation and relations with the central government and regional and local authorities (Spyropoulos, 2007).
However, the formation of an effective administrative body responds to a number of other issues related to the guaranteed income, such as the use of statistics, the fragmentation of aid providers and services, the lack of cooperation between agencies, lack of information to beneficiaries, lack of long-term strategic planning.
The third important issue has to do with the amount of guaranteed income. The Matsaganis considers a "high" [limits the risk of poverty] guaranteed income is impossible for reasons of budget realism and undesirable for conservation work incentives. Similar posts express the Balfoussia and Kotsis. Also, these authors point out that the guaranteed minimum income should not aspire to eliminate poverty, simply because to do so would also need to mobilize financial and economic policy. The aim should be to prevent extreme poverty and destitution (Matsaganis, 2004:108).
The amount of guaranteed income is therefore not possible to determine not specified what the purpose of your policy. I believe that the goal of deterrence simply misery is rather weak, politically untenable and without long-term vision. Says Richard Titmus social policy implicitly refers to changes: changes in attitudes, situations, systems and practices. Social policy refers to both the existing and the way forward (Titmuss, 1974). Social policy has a dynamic dimension that should in no way be overlooked.
So what is appropriate in our case? Properly is to secure a decent socio-economic living standards for all, in a society and economy that is characterized by equal opportunities for all, in accordance with the formalities of Esping-Andersen, from activation of the entire population, a vibrant and dynamic economy, (Esping-Andersen, 2006,55). If accepted this as a goal, then so much the level of guaranteed minimum income and other critical element of who is eligible, it is easy to be clarified.
Investing in children is the primary step for a policy that can answer the question of long-term poverty and social exclusion. The family, as stated by Esping-Andersen is the key to social integration and competitive knowledge economy. Vulnerable families and poorly paid employment is an explosive mixture that produces poverty. Children living in poverty and social exclusion are safe recipe for adults that will be living in poverty, for societies and economies with low productivity and poor workers, just as the Greek economy today. Therefore, the first group of beneficiaries from the introduction of GMI are poor children. In my opinion the amount of allowance for this category could rise to 1800 per year. It is understood that there will be provision for children to enjoy all the other public goods. The amount quoted if added to the cost of basic public goods (health care-child + education + transport) somewhat exceeds the threshold level of risk of poverty in our country. The total cost is estimated to be around 550 million euros.
It is worth to note that investing in children has to do with what is called "the hard core of social protection." This is not limited to simple enumeration of vulnerable groups but how many of them will continue to remain vulnerable for a long time (Esping-Andersen, 2006:49).
This observation leads us to the second group exhibiting high rates of poverty in our country and which indeed is unable to escape from the vicious cycle of poverty through other methods such as education and employment. The poverty of the elderly, will be one of the most explosive issues for many reasons, especially related to the productive structure of the country. In the future, the pension system should ensure a decent standard of living in the part of the population was inactive. To those working in the informal sector and thus did not pay contributions. Those who worked in unskilled and low-productivity jobs and were working poor. Mothers who have broken working life and therefore have difficulty in collecting the necessary stamps. The introduction of the national pension for everyone over 67 years I believe it is a necessary measure for both the present time and even more for the future.
This pension should be set so that in combination with providing a range of services to help people to overcome the risk of poverty. Why respect the elderly, the large deficit facing our country is the long-term care, for which demand has soared. Numerically, poverty among the elderly is approximately 490,000 people (Lawn, 2007).
The third major category to be included in the system of guaranteed minimum income people with disabilities. It is known that the benefits provided to people with disabilities ranging from 165 million to over 600 million, is not always clear what criteria are that these divisions. Today there are about 195,000 people receiving benefits, with the total amount reaching 650 million euros. Insofar as these people financed amount of the guaranteed minimum income would cost close to 1.2 billion euros.
The next category in the gradual introduction of GMI are unemployed, working poor and inactive in the age category 18-64.

Conclusion

Greece has a need for a social protection policy that enhances the activation of all citizens of the country and at the same time strengthen social solidarity. As experience has shown states with Scandinavian type welfare systems, they have a high level of adaptation to the challenges of globalization and the emphasis in education and solidarity enables them to be among the most competitive nations in the world.
The social protection system in the country haunted by a series of problems, which largely reflects the overall weakness of the country. The absence of long-term planning, emphasis on emergency measures, the persistence of monetary benefits, fragmentation of services, lack of implementation of announced policies and strategies, the lack of targeting, show a large deficit both public administration, but most importantly the lack of political will part of the elite of the country. To the extent that there is no political will and care for the poor of the country, the issue of GMI will be a shooting star in the political and parliamentary debates. Moreover, to the extent not be a productive vision for the country, it is also impossible to adopt an import program GMI.
The cost of the guaranteed minimum income is not prohibitive, even at full implementation. According to my own calculations, the total cost is 12 billion euros, if the household reaches the threshold of poverty risk. In other words, the costs amount to 1/3 of tax evasion in our country. And here we are talking about money consumed for pools, Jeeps and cottages, while they could strengthen social cohesion.
But given the weaknesses of the Greek formation, I think the gradual introduction of a guaranteed minimum income, while building social services are a Scandinavian type solution or vision of decent living ignores or undermines the existing financial and productive state in the country.

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