Defining minimum income (and living) standards in Europe: methodological issues and policy debates

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Minimum income protection is gaining new significance in European social policy. In an effort to promote social inclusion, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission and EU Member States to guarantee the minimum right to social safety nets. The Commission has been considering, in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy, the possibility of setting minimum standards for social protection. It is timely then to survey the debates surrounding minimum income standards for Europe and some of the different technologies available for setting reference budgets. A European needs-based (minimum) social protection floor should help guard against poverty and exclusion, but there can be no ‘one size fits all’ in Europe. For it is equally clear that higher social standards of protection may be required by citizens in more affluent parts of Europe. How can such distinctions be made, and what are the challenges arising from doing so?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Issue number1
Early online date19 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • Europeanisation of social policy
  • social protection
  • reference budgets
  • social research


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