ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday that his government will bring forward a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a basic income for all of its citizens. The surprising announcement was made through the Prime Minister’s personal Twitter account.
”We constitutionally guarantee the minimum guaranteed income, that is, the safety net for the most vulnerable. The Greek state will now be constitutionally obliged to provide dignified living conditions of all citizens,” the Greek Premier’s tweet noted.
Κατοχυρώνουμε συνταγματικά το ελάχιστο εγγυημένο εισόδημα, δηλαδή το δίχτυ ασφαλείας για τους πιο αδύναμους. Το ελληνικό κράτος πλέον θα μεριμνά βάσει Συντάγματος για τη διασφάλιση συνθηκών αξιοπρεπούς διαβίωσης όλων των πολιτών. pic.twitter.com/2Se3ffQtJt
— Kyriakos Mitsotakis (@kmitsotakis) November 19, 2019
The ”Minimum Guaranteed Income” was first introduced as a pilot program in Greece in 2014. Its universal enforcement was introduced a few years later, by the then SYRIZA-led coalition government, which changed its name to ”Social Income of Solidarity” or KEA. Beginning in 2020, the Greek government plans to spend at least one billion euros annually on this program.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis has also pledged to increase the number of Greek citizens who can benefit from the plan to 800,000 people, almost double the number of those who are currently taking the income, or 450,000 individuals. One needs to have extremely low or no income at all to be able to claim the minimum guaranteed income in Greece.
The lowest benefit one can receive is €200 per month, which will grow by €100 for each additional adult member of a household. A household comprised of only one adult must earn less than €2,400 a year to claim the benefit. This amount increases according to the number of members of the family.
Additionally, the value of savings accounts, properties and other asset criteria are taken into account when one applies for the benefit. The basic guaranteed income for all is a measure already implemented in many countries around the world. It is supported by a wide spectrum of economists, regardless of ideology, as an easy tool for governments to reduce extreme poverty and homelessness in societies.