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EU’s fight against (in-work) poverty: case for minimum living income

This event brought together perspectives from different states to share best practices on the EU's legislative role in social policies.


Bea Cantillon

Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Antwerp

Frank Vandenbroucke

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health, Belgium, Council of the European Union


Check-in and lunch



Introduction and welcoming remarks




  • Bea Cantillon, Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology , University of Antwerp








Social protection systems are vital for crisis resilience in the European Union. In recent years, social policy debates on the EU-Level have gained traction despite the EU’s limited legislative competences when it comes to social protection. Social security and minimum income schemes are member states’ competences, meaning that any action at the EU level requires unanimity unless it is not legally binding. The Covid-19 pandemic proved once more how important inclusive social protection systems are as fundamental income stabilizers. Yet, we also witnessed the differences in our social protection systems and their inability to adequately protect workers, self-employed, and the inactive population. While the pandemic exposed the fragilities of our social protection systems, it also prompted the adoption of institutional policy innovations. Although most were temporary in nature, in some cases, these new policies were made permanent.

Consequently, the purpose of this high-level event was to gather perspectives from different countries, present new social initiatives, and exchange best practices.

The event was kicked off by welcoming words by Rebecca Christie and followed by a 15 minutes presentation by an academic speaker (to be confirmed). Later on the Spanish Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations -José Luis Escrivá, Frank Vandenbroucke, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, Belgium and Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany, engaged in a wider discussion on inclusive policies and the fight against poverty in the EU.

Public | On the record