UBI Europe reflects on basic income week

01_ubie_on_white_left_arranged-h3621Reflecting the growing demand for unconditional basic income [1] worldwide, this year’s International Basic Income Week looks to having the largest participation ever in its 8-year history.

People in 27 countries across all continents [2] will be holding events and raising the profile of unconditional basic income across the globe between 14-20 September this year.

Actions around the world include film showings, public discussions, food sharing, stalls, letters to newspapers, articles, art shows

Although basic income is an old idea with roots that some say go as far back as the 1500s, it has been given a new urgency in the last few years. The increasing inequality of income and access to resources both within countries and between countries, the increasing precarity of employment in all sectors, looming technological unemployment, increasingly punitive social security regimes [3], and the endless, expensive wars over oil and their creation of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, to say nothing of the trillions of dollars spent on bailing out the banks since 2008 – all these have contributed to making basic income a key demand for the 21st century.

Unconditional Basic Income (or Universal Basic Income, Basic Income Guarantee, Citizens Income, Guaranteed Livable Income, Social Dividend) has had several boosts this year. In Finland most political parties support the idea and progress has been made since the election last spring towards doing pilots. Basic Income was endorsed by the General Council of the Canadian Medical Association and several towns and provinces are looking seriously at basic income to replace their complicated welfare system. Many cities in the Netherlands are considering pilots. In Namibia a strong supporter of basic income who was involved with the successful pilot there in 2008-9, Bishop Kameeta, was made Minister for Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare and has already started working on proposals to pay a basic income to youth and elders.

All basic income supporters are looking forward to the upcoming referendum in Switzerland on basic income next year in 2016. When the Swiss won the right to hold their referendum in October 2013, they made headlines around the world with a money-drop of 8 million coins representing the Swiss population in front of the Federal House in Bern.

International Basic Income Week started in 2008 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Past achievements of the week include a conference in 2009 which led a few years later to the European Citizens Initiative for Basic Income in 2013, which gathered 300,000 signatures in all 25 member states, the most successful ECI run without backing from any large organisations. This led to the formation of UBI-Europe [4], a network of individuals and organisations in 28 European countries working to promote the adoption of unconditional basic income in Europe and as a human right. It has taken the lead on coordinating this year’s events.


Barb Jacobson
UBIE Press Officer
+44 7985 670 688



Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/421208298066517/

UBI Calendar https://basicincomeweek.org/calendar/










Hashtag: #basicincomeweek
[1] Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) is an amount of money, paid on a regular basis to each individual unconditionally and universally, high enough to ensure a material existence and participation in society.

[2] List of 2015 participants

Continents participating with live events (4)
Europe, Asia, North-America, Africa

Countries with live events (19)
Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Norway, China, South Korea , Denmark, Spain, France, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, United Kingdom,  Ireland, USA,  Malawi, Zimbabwe

Countries participating through media reports, radio discussions, statements on their websites.. (8)
Australia, Brazil, Finland, India, Italy, Mozambique, South Afric,a  Zambia

[3] Without any piloting or study of the effects of increased conditionality, social security systems throughout industrialised nations have added many more work conditions, where the claimant is at risk of having part or all of her/his benefit withdrawn for non-compliance, or even if they have tried to comply.
These sanctions apply whether the claimant is at fault or not, and range from gradual withdrawal of a portion of people’s money to the full cancellation of benefit for an increasing amount of time, for example in Germany (the focus of hunger-striker Ralph Boes’ protest), and for often for spurious reasons, in the UK.

[4] UBIE Europe had its first meeting in April 2014 and was constituted as an AISBL in Belgium in June 2015. It partners with Stop TTIP, the ECI Campaign, activist groups, unions, political parties, churches, youth organisations academics across Europe to promote the adoption of unconditional basic income throughout the continent and as a global human right. http://ubie.org