Perugia, Italy, 24th April 2013: A lesson about Citizen's Income

On April 24th a lesson about Citizen’s Income will be held at the Faculty of Law of Università degli Studi di Perugia (University of Perugia). The lesson will be lectured by Giuseppe Bronzini who is a Judge in the Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy, and the coordinator of the scientific committee of BIN Italia. The event was organised by the University of Perugia, and specifically by Professor Tamar Pitch who is chair of Philosophy of Law.

ITALY: 50,000 signatures in favour of a Guaranteed Minimum Income delivered to the lower house of the Italian Parliament

ITALY: 50,000 signatures in favour of a Guaranteed Minimum Income delivered to the lower house of the Italian Parliament

On the 15th of April, 2013 more than 50,000 signatures gathered for the campaign to propose a popular initiative bill on guaranteed minimum income in Italy were delivered to the lower house of the Italian Parliament. A delegation of the 170 associations involved in the campaign met the newly elected President of the lower house, Laura Boldrini.

Before meeting the President of the lower house, the delegation met also some MPs of Partito Democratico (Democratic Party), SEL – Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (Left Ecology Freedom) and Movimento 5 Stelle (5 Star Movement) who came out of the Parliament to express their willingness to bring the discussion on a guaranteed minimum income into the lower house. In front of journalists and media photographers they grabbed the boxes containing the signatures as a symbolic gesture and declared to be in favour of a bill on guaranteed minimum income.

A few days before delivering the signatures, the associations involved in the campaign launched a call to the new elected MPs for approval of the guaranteed minimum income bill. The call highlighted the increasingly alarming conditions of precarious workers and unemployed in Italy and demanded that MPs who during the electoral campaign put on their agenda measures addressing citizens’ economic conditions to take a stance on this issue, back this proposal, and support the necessity of introducing a right to guaranteed income.

Article based on this report (in italian)

L'Hirondelle, C.A., “The High Costs of a Leaky Roof Society”

[Sabrina Del Pico – BIN Italia – March 2013]

This article argues that a universal livable income represents a wise investment for the future rather than an unsustainable cost. Using a metaphor about roof construction, the author compares and contrasts the long-term benefits of a universal income with the detriments to society at large caused by failing to introduce such a measure. The author, in fact, highlights how society would benefit from it both at socio-economic and health level.

C.A., L’Hirondelle, “The High Costs of a Leaky Roof Society” Livable 4 All, February 26th, 2013:

Italy: 5 Star Movement and the confusing proposal of a citizen's income

[by Sabrina Del Pico – BIN Italia]

In January 2013, a few weeks before general elections, Beppe Grillo, the colourful leader of Movimento 5 Stelle – M5S (5 Star Movement) declared: “The first thing we will do, after entering the Parliament, is to introduce a citizen’s income for those who lost their jobs or do not have a job”. During the campaign for the national Parliament M5S presented its agenda including 20 points, the second of which was what Beppe Grillo improperly called a citizen’s income.

That term is usually used synonymously with the term basic income for an unconditional income given to all without any means test or work requirement. Grillo instead used it essentially as a new name for unemployment insurance conditional on readiness to accept a job if one becomes available. Grillo himself said in a recent interview (in Italian), “the employment offices will offer people one, two, three jobs. If they don’t accept those jobs they will lose the benefit.” He did not even clarify whether the job offer must be appropriate for the individual’s skills.

M5S won an astonishing victory. It emerged as Italy’s biggest single party in the lower chamber with 8.7 million over, nearly a quarter of all votes cast. Its leader did not eat his words pronounced during the electoral campaign and went on talking about the introduction of a what he calls citizen’s income as one of the most important actions to be taken.

If on the one hand, it is unprecedented that Italian mainstream politicians put on their agenda measures addressing citizens’ economic conditions; on the other hand it added confusion to political language and therefore also to concepts and outcomes. See the link below for an article misunderstanding Grillo’s use of the term citizens income. M5S’ proposal considers a measure that provides unemployed with €1000 a month for 3 years. It is a quite vague proposal as regards the implementation process but as one point: the measure is entirely conditional to availability for work or some kind of commitment to a reintegration trajectory. It is clear, therefore, that what they call a citizen’s income is actually a kind of unemployment benefit, either contributory or non-contributory. This is not a mere linguistic issue. It actually hides – or reveals, according to the standpoint – an inadequate and shallow knowledge of welfare state policies by mainstream politics, which implies the risk to implement a workfare measure passed off as a basic income.

Nevertheless, this proposal opened a lively debate in the mainstream politics about the necessity to provide citizens facing economic problems with some kind of income support. Nearly all Italian political parties are now aware that the issue of introducing an income support scheme is an inescapable fact.

As a matter of fact, in July 2012, BIN Italia, along with many associations and grassroots organisations, already launched a campaign to propose a popular initiative bill on guaranteed minimum income in Italy. The campaign, which ended in December 2012, was a great success. It reached its target to collect 50,000 signatures, and therefore the popular initiative bill on guaranteed minimum income may not only represent an important contribution to the current debate but it may also help determine implementation and practical aspects of welfare reform in Italy.


The website,, published a long article (in English) on M5S’s policy entirely under the misapprehension that M5S had endorsemed basic income: Ellen Brown, “QE for the People: Comedian Beppe Grillo’s Populist Plan for Italy,” Truthout, Thursday, 07 March 2013:

An article (in Italian) by Roberto Ciccarelli appears in Il Manifesto briefly explaining the difference between a basic income and the unemployment benefit particularly in the light of the latest statements made by main mainstream politicians. He clarifies the positions of Bersani (Democratic Party), Vendola (SEL Sinistra Ecologia Libertà – Left Ecology Freedom), and Grillo (M5S) as well as those of some grassroots organizations such as BIN Italia and San Precario. Ciccarelli is one of the few in the mainstream media to highlight the haziness of Grillo’s proposal:

Rome, Italy, 16th January 2013: Public Meeting on Citizen's Income

[BIN-Italia – January 2013]

A public meeting entitled “Citizen’s Income: the Hypothesis of a Guaranteed Minimum Income” was held in Rome at La Villetta on January 16th. The Forum on Labour, Rights, and Youth Employment organised the event in co-operation with the political party SEL – Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (Left Ecology Freedom).

The program of the meeting included the following speakers and themes:

Enzo D’arcangelo (member of the Forum on Labour, Rights, and Youth Employment): New forms of poverty and new welfare state

Mauro Palma (European Council, and National Presidency of SEL): Fundamental Rights, material conditions, and social risks

Giuseppe Bronzini (Judge in the Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy, and BIN Italia member): Citizen’s Income

Mariapia Pizzolante (TILT): The campaign for a Guaranteed Minimum Income