The latest publication in the ECMI Working Paper series analyses the broader goals of the Minority SafePack Initiative (MSPI) and considers whether a form of universal basic income (UBI) could be a tool to enhance the situation of national minorities within the European Union.
Author ECMI Research Assistant Craig Willis, dissects the text of the MSPI and forms four core aspects or demands which are considered as assessment criteria for this analysis: living in homeland, learning in mother tongue, preservation and development of identity and culture, and aiming for equality. These criteria are then discussed in the context of basic income theory as well as two EU-wide proposals: the Euro-dividend, from philosopher and renowned UBI scholar Prof. Philippe Van Parijs; and the Universal Basic Dividend, a policy proposal of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025.
The Working Paper finds that basic income theory overlaps significantly in terms of potential impact on all of the assessment criteria. However, these potentially diminish if the amount of a basic income is not enough to meet basic needs, as could be the case with the two proposals analysed. Nonetheless, the differentiation between the Euro-dividend and the Universal Basic Dividend in terms of funding mechanism offers a significant factor which could change the normative understanding of a basic income – with the latter possibly better suiting the idea of a pact between different groups in society, in this case the majority and national minorities.
This research comes at a timely moment, with representatives of the Federal Union of European Nationalities currently visiting EU member state governments and parliaments to lobby for support for the MSPI. After the collection and verification of over 1 million signatures across the EU, the next step for the MSPI is to be submitted to the EU Commission. Although basic income is an ambitious and potentially radical policy, the discussion around it is increasing worldwide and the author of this Working Paper believes it should be explored in the case of any demographic: “basic income is being debated and trialled across the globe and political spectrum, and any application of such a policy could have profound impacts on national minorities – whether they support it or not, and usually without any consideration on how it would affect such groups. Thus, it is vital to explore this in advance to ascertain how national minorities could be affected and whether it is a policy worth supporting”.