Estonia: Governmental officials are convinced basic income is not even worth a feasibility study
The Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu)
As reported before, an Estonian collective of basic income activists, led by Jaanus Nurmoja, delivered a petition to the Social Affairs Committee (SAC) of the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu), calling for the investigation of a universal basic income (UBI) implementation in Estonia, on March 29th 2019. Five months later – three months passed from the excepted date of reply – the SAC decides not to study the issue, although that apparently contradicts the initiative expressed text, and Estonian Law. In the words of SAC’s spokesman (Tõnis Mölder), pronounced at the committee meeting on Tuesday, 17th of September 2019: “At the moment, however, the implementation of such a system in Estonia does not seem reasonable, as there is no financial analysis and no assurance that the current social system could be replaced by something more efficient”.
According to the activists, this decision is not consistent with Estonian Law, since the Working Rules Act is not being observed. Abiding to these rules would imply only rejecting proposals submitted “less than two years earlier or obviously [violating] constitutional principles of Estonia and international agreements”. Also, these argue that the rejection is based on a self-referring (circular) argumentation: that the proposal of investigating UBI in Estonia cannot be accepted, because there has not been any investigation on UBI in Estonia. This led the activists to question if the proposal text had even been read in full by the SAC members.
Jannus Nurmonia and the other co-signatories of the “Investigating the Feasibility and Impact of Unconditional Basic Income (Civic Salary) in Estonia” petition are now calling for a withdrawal of this decision, postponing the actual discussion of the proposal for the next SAC meeting. They are convinced a UBI will eventually be unavoidable in Estonia, and so starting feasibility studies over it should start as soon as possible.
More information at:
“Committee: Universal basic income will not be introduced anytime soon”, ERR, September 18th 2019
André Coelho, “Estonia: Estonian Parliament examines possibility of testing basic income in the country”, Basic Income News, June 28th 2019