News; News & Events

FRANCE: French minister Ségolène Royal backs Hamon’s basic income proposal

The French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal, has expressed some support for Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon’s basic income proposal, and noted that the idea has been “unjustly caricatured”.

As recently covered by Basic Income News, Hamon’s proposal involves introducing an unconditional basic income of 600 euro per month for young people in 2018, before eventually rolling out to all citizens and increasing to 750 euro per month.

In a television interview for France 3, Royal had the following to say:

“I find that this idea has been unjustly characterised. Eminent economists have shown that it’s not about calling into question the society of work, that it wouldn’t be a tool to discourage work – on the contrary, it’s a symbol that underlines the necessity of securing employees. […] I think that the idea is interesting – that ambiguities must be lifted, [but] that unjust attacks have been directed against universal income.”

A prominent member of the Socialist Party, Royal was famously defeated in the 2007 presidential election against Nicolas Sarkozy.

Her position in 2017, however, remains uncertain. Royal says that she remains open to supporting either Hamon or the more centrist Emmanuel Macron in the upcoming presidential election, depending on the candidates’ finalised manifestos.

Macron still hasn’t publicised his full platform. Although he previously indicated openness to basic income, the former Minister of Economy has since dismissed basic income on the ground that it might promote laziness. Macron now instead backs the proposal for a decent minimum income that has been pushed forward by the Leftist think tank Terra Nova.

The two-round election will take place on 23 April and 7 May. These candidates go up against the far-right Front National’s Marine Le Pen, the Conservative’s François Fillon, and the Left Party’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The full interview, in French, can be viewed here (discussion of basic income begins at 6:45).

Read more:

Ségolène Royal soutient le revenu universel de Benoît Hamon” [Ségolène Royal supports the universal income of Benoît Hamon],, 6 February, 2017.

Royal salue les «idées neuves» de Hamon et «attend» le projet de Macron” [Royal salutes the “new ideas” of Hamon and “awaits” Macron’s project], 20 Minutes, 5 February, 2017.

Genevieve Shanahan, “FRANCE: Hamon becomes Socialist Party presidential candidate following basic income-focused campaign”, Basic Income News, 30 January, 2017.

Stanislas Jourdan, “FRANCE: Pro basic income candidate set to win socialist primary election”, Basic Income News, 22 January, 2017.

Stanislas Jourdan, “FRANCE: Minister of Economy says he is open to basic income”, Basic Income News, 26 January, 2016.

Additional reporting by Stanislas Jourdan

Photo: Ségolène Royal CC 2.0 by Ségolène Royal

About Genevieve Shanahan

Genevieve Shanahan has written 20 articles.

Genevieve is a graduate of University College London, with an MPhil in philosophy. She currently works at the Grenoble Ecole de Management, assisting with research on young people and work in Europe, and otherwise reads and writes about basic income.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.