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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case EU-2020-42/1342 – measures in European Union

Need to strengthen minimum income protection in the EU during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Country European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)
Time period Open ended, started on 12 October 2020
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Protection of vulnerable groups (beyond employment support)
Author Eurofound
Case created 28 October 2020 (updated 05 November 2020)

Background information

The minimum income schemes contribute to the social protection of the most disadvantaged groups in society, including people hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis. They also have a stabilising effect for the economy as a whole. Therefore on 12 October the Council decided to adopt conclusions on strengthening minimum income protection in the EU with the aim to combat poverty and social exclusion during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Content of measure

The Conclusions invite Member States to do the following:

  • Striving and ensuring that their national minimum income protection schemes meet the relevant recommendations of the Union and the International Labour Organization, are accessible and adequate, and enable beneficiaries’ social and labour market inclusion;
  • Working together to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, and to commit themselves to addressing the remaining gaps in minimum income protection in combating poverty and social exclusion
  • Strengthening employment and social aspects within the European Semester as coordination for economic, employment and social policy with regard to minimum income protection, and provide respective policy recommendations that take a long-term view and balance economic, fiscal, employment and social policy needs;

The European Commission is invited, within its competences as set out in the Treaties, while paying due regard to national circumstances to initiate an update of the Union framework to effectively support and complement the policies of Members States on national minimum income protection.

Use of measure

The most disadvantaged groups in society, including people hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Does not apply to businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
EU (Council, EC, EP)
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: EU level


European social partners were not involved in the preparation or designing of the Council conclusions.

Views and reactions

According to the European Trade Union Confederation effective EU anti-poverty action should be based on a European framework directive setting binding common principles and minimum standards for minimum income schemes that are highly inclusive, adequate, accessible and enabling.


  • 23 September 2020: ETUC input on the right to adequate, accessible and effective minimum income schemes (
  • 12 October 2020: Strengthening minimum income protection in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: Council adopts conclusions (


Eurofound (2020), Need to strengthen minimum income protection in the EU during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, case EU-2020-42/1342 (measures in European Union), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.