Valerija Korošec: “Unconditional Basic Individual Universal Child Grant for Belgium following the Slovenian approach”

Valerija Korošec: “Unconditional Basic Individual Universal Child Grant for Belgium following the Slovenian approach”

Valerija Korošec. Picture credit to: DNEVNIK.

Valerija Korošec, a known sociologist and social policy analyst in Slovenia, as well as ex-presidential candidate for that country, has presented a paper entitled “Unconditional Basic Individual Universal Child Grant for Belgium following the Slovenian approach”, at the International Conference on Universal Child Grants, which took place in Geneva from 6th through 8th of February 2019.

This paper’s abstract reads as follows:

This paper presents some evidence for developed countries suggesting that a universal, unconditional and uniform basic income (UBI) approach is more effective than a means-tested, conditional and targeted benefit system in addressing child poverty.

In accordance with the aim of the International conference (2019) on Universal Child Grants (UCGs) a policy design for Universal Child Benefit for Belgium is outlined. It follows the concept of Universal Basic Income Proposal for Slovenia (KOROŠEC, 2010), for which the simulation already showed that a UBI approach is more effective than means-tested, conditional and targeted benefits. The findings of KOROŠEC (2010) fit well with those of the OECD (2017) study ‘Basic Income as a Policy Option: Can it add up?’ and the IMF (2017) Fiscal Monitor ‘Tackling Inequality.’ Also, the most recent study Universal Basic Income: Debate and Impact Assessment (IMF, 2018) resembles KOROŠEC (2012) up to the point of similar outlining of the necessary steps in designing the UBI policy framework.

Certain consensus starts to emerge on circumstances in which a UBI system is better than the current means-tested system for all.

The affordability study for UBI UCG in Belgium presented here (i.e. SI_UBI UCG_BE) is simulated by MEFISTO, which is a micro-simulation model for Belgium based on EUROMOD. This simulation shows that with the same amount of money (no budget change) child poverty rate drops if the current 27 schemes are replaced with a universal flat-rate child grant (200 €/month) and a 400 €/month single parent supplement. Child poverty rates drop the most in the first and second income deciles. The majority of the population is either unaffected or benefits by the simulated reform, and the Gini is slightly lower, by 0.03.

We confirm, at least for two developed countries that already have quite universal and comprehensive social security systems, Slovenia and Belgium, that within the same fiscal envelope (budget neutral) and with UBI implemented on a level just above the current Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme (GMI) a UBI system is better than the current (means-tested) system.

Valerija is also a responsible at the Institute of Macroeconomic Analyses and Development at the Slovenian Government, and coordinator of the Slovenian Universal Basic Income Network affiliate.

More information at:

Kate McFarland, “SLOVENIA: Basic Income advocate Valerija Korosec makes bid for Presidency”, Basic Income News, August 17th 2017

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: European Business Summit holds Basic Income panel

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: European Business Summit holds Basic Income panel

On Monday, May 22, 2017, the European Business Summit will hold a discussion of the European basic income debate as part of its annual event in Brussels, Belgium.  

The hour-long session will feature two cofounders of BIEN–Philippe Van Parijs (Université catholique de Louvain) and Guy Standing (SOAS, University of London)–in addition to Olli Kangas (Kela), who is leading the research team behind Finland’s basic income experiment, and Mark Smith (Grenoble Ecole de Management). It will center on the question “The basic income debate is coming to a head in Europe, but is it really feasible?”

The discussion will be moderated by the Belgian freelance journalist Chris Burns, who has previously interviewed Standing about universal basic income and the precariat.

Now in its 17th year, the European Business Summit draws more than 2000 participants annually– business leaders, policymakers, researchers and academics, and others–to debate economic, social, and political issues facing Europe. This year, the conference will host 150 speakers over the course of two days. A full schedule is available here.

Photo: “European Business Summit” CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 European Wind Energy Association

UGANDA/BELGIUM: Eight releases first part of documentary on basic income pilot

UGANDA/BELGIUM: Eight releases first part of documentary on basic income pilot

Eight are a Belgian charity running a basic income pilot in Uganda, previously covered in detail in Basic Income News. A web documentary following the two-year trial will be released in episodes, with the first two episodes now available on the organisation’s website.

The first episode introduces the village of Busibi, called “Village One” in the documentary. Further episodes will cover the launch of the basic income pilot and its effects. New episodes will be released each week for a total of 12 weeks. Following this web documentary, a longer film with different and more layered storylines will be released in late 2018 or early 2019.

While the long-term impacts of the basic income are yet to be seen, Eight report that they have already seen many positive effects, including increased school attendance, improved health, development of local business and increased democratic self-support within the village.

Reviewed by Kate McFarland

Image and video used courtesy of Steven Janssens

Read more:

Kate McFarland, “UGANDA: Two-year basic income pilot set to launch in 2017”, November 20, 2016, Basic Income News

Kate McFarland, “UGANDA: New Two-Year Basic Income Pilot Project”, April 20, 2016, Basic Income News

BELGIUM: Six in ten Flemish people in favour of basic income

BELGIUM: Six in ten Flemish people in favour of basic income

According to a recent survey, 61% of Flemings agree that “everyone should have the right to a guaranteed basic income”. About a quarter say that, if guaranteed this right, they would start their own business, and women in particular would be more entrepreneurial.

The questions about a basic income guarantee formed part of a larger survey on the economy, conducted by Trendhuis (“Trend House”), a research group that has been following trends in public opinion in Belgium since 2005. For its survey on the economy, which was released in January 2017, it polled 1,028 members of the Flemish population (Dutch-speaking Belgians) over the age of 18.

In the web-based survey, Trendhuis asked respondents whether they support a basic income, defined as a fixed (monthly) income provided by the government to all citizens, without means test or work requirement. As seen in the table below, a majority in each demographic group analyzed — young and old, male and female, “short-” and “long-” educated — supported the idea. The greatest support came from the 51-65 age group, in which 67% of respondents favored basic income.

These results are roughly consistent with those found in Dalia Research’s EU-wide study of attitudes about basic income, conducted in April 2016.


Bruges, West Flanders, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Daniel Mennerich

More Entrepreneurship

Survey subjects were further asked about entrepreneurial activity. Overall, 20% of the respondents indicated that they would set up their own company in the future even without a basic income, while 25% would do so if they were provided with a basic income.

The difference was more pronounced for women: 14% said that they would start their own business in the future without a basic income; this proportion jumped to 23% with a basic income.


Changing Behavior

One of the big questions of the basic income debate is whether people will still be motivated to work with a guaranteed basic income. In the Trendhuis study, 6% of the Flemings surveyed indicated that they would completely give up their jobs. More than one in three said that they would consider working less (for example, part-time or four-fifths)–with women (40%) more inclined to do so than men (31%).

Almost half of those surveyed said that they would find work better suited to their abilities (47%) and commit more time to volunteering (45%). Additionally, four in ten respondents said that they would study. More than half of the women expressed an intention to commit to voluntary work (54%), versus 39% of men.




“I think that everyone should have a right to a guaranteed basic income”

(Percentages = ‘agree’ + ‘strongly agree’)

Overall 61,06%
Men 59,46%
Women 62,70%
20-35 y.o. 58,00%
36-50 y.o. 56,07%
51-65 y.o. 67,22%
Short Educated 63,29%
Long Educated 60,28%


“If I had a right to a guaranteed basic income, I would…”

(Percentages = ‘agree’ + ‘strongly agree’)

Overall Men Women 20-35 36-50 51-65 Short Ed. Long Ed.
Start own business 24,90% 26,39% 23,34% 37,05% 28,28% 11,98% 19,12% 26,91%
Volunteer more. 46,09% 38,96% 53,95% 49,87% 46,17% 43,80% 38,80% 48,62%
Work less. 35,23% 31,11% 39,79% 37,00% 37,17% 35,37% 31,87% 36,39%
Stop to work. 5,85% 5,07% 6,71% 2,73% 3,79% 10,83% 7,76% 5,18%
Find work that better fits my talents. 46,65% 46,47% 46,95% 51,30% 43,24% 45,83% 51,17% 45,07%
Return to school. 42,50% 42,49% 42,62% 52,81% 40,71% 33,99% 38,42% 43,92%
Negotiate for better work conditions. 24,06% 26,86% 21,08% 28,10% 24,65% 20,15% 26,07% 23,37%
“I see myself starting up a company in the future”

(Percentages = ‘agree’ + ‘strongly agree’)

“If I had a guaranteed basic income right then I would set up a private enterprise” (Percentages = ‘agree’ + ‘strongly agree’) Difference in percentage points
Overall 19,48% 24,90% + 5,42
Men 24,27% 26,39% + 2,12
Women 14,41% 23,34% + 8,93
20-35 y.o. 33,22% 37,05% + 3,83
36-50 y.o. 21,53% 28,28% + 6,75
51-65 y.o. 7,26% 11,98% + 4,72
Short Educated 13,46% 19,12% + 5,66
Long Educated 21,58% 26,91% + 5,33


Edited by Kate McFarland; reviewed by Genevieve Shanahan.

Photo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Daniel Mennerich

VIDEO: BIEN’s 30th Anniversary Reunion

VIDEO: BIEN’s 30th Anniversary Reunion

This fall, BIEN celebrated 30th anniversary of its founding. Video recordings of its founders’ reunion are available online.  

On October 1, several founding members and other past and present BIEN leaders — comprising three generations of basic income advocates — united at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium for a conference held in commemoration of the occasion in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of UCLouvain’s Hoover Chair of economic and social ethics and the retirement of BIEN cofounder Philippe van Parijs as its director. (See also a Basic Income News interview in which Philippe discusses the past, present, and future of BIEN.)  

Reflecting on the event and the history of BIEN, Belgian entrepreneur and long-time basic income advocate Roland Duchâtelet said:

What impresses me most is that during the 30 years of BIEN many different personalities expressed many different views regarding UBI models, implementation, and the way the organisation should behave… and yet, I do not believe there have been any defectors. Moreover, despite the highly diverse background of the members and their desire to succeed, the organisation managed to keep its harmony.

To me this was the prevailing feeling of the 30th anniversary event: we are a (strong) group of friends.

Roland Duchalet (photo credit: Enno Schmidt)

Roland Duchatelet (credit: Enno Schmidt)

For Jose Luis Rey Pérez (Adjunct Professor of Philosophy of Law at Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid), BIEN’s 30th anniversary event rekindled memories of studying with van Parijs and others at UCL years earlier:

I was in Chair Hoover [in UCL] two months in April and May 2003, while I was writing my PhD. I learnt a lot from Philippe van Parijs during that time, and I had the opportunity to read everything that was published about basic income in that time. (In those years where books and articles were not on internet like now.) I had also the opportunity to share coffees, time and discussions with Axel Gosseries, Hervois Portouis, Yannick Vanderborght, Jurgen De Wispelaere and Myron Frankman who were in the Chair at that time.

It was nice, 13 years later, to listen and learn again from some authors that I have studied deeply. I wish Philippe a very rich retirement. I know that he will continue through his conferences, books and articles to enrich the philosophical thought. We have a lot of things to learn from him yet. Because he is one of the best philosophers of this XXI century.

Two other attendees, Bonno Pel and Julia Backhaus of the TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory (TRANSIT) research project, have written an extended feature article on the event (“BIEN Celebrates Thirty Years: Basic income, a utopia for our times?), looking at the 2016 UCL event as a reflection of (a photo of) the founding meeting in 1986.


Video Footage

Belgian filmmaker Steven Janssens videotaped six conference sessions: (1) BIEN’s improvised birth, (2) Basic income implemented in the short and the long run (note: a parallel session on the history of basic income was not recorded), (3) Lessons from the Swiss referendum, (4) Promises and limits of past and future experiments, (5) Moving forward, (6) Final reflections.

(Janssens is also the driving force behind the documentary about a basic income pilot in a Ugandan village, with a planned launch date of October 2018.)


1. BIEN’s Improvised Birth: Testimonies by Some Co-founders

Featuring Philippe van Parijs, Paul-Marie Boulanger, Annie Miller, Guy Standing, Claus Offe, and Robert van der Veen.


2. Basic Income Implemented in the Short and the Long Run

Featuring Philippe Defeyt (“An income-tax-funded basic income of EUR 600”), David Rosseels (“A micro-tax on electronic payments”), and Karl Widerquist (“Sovereign funds and basic income”).


3. Lessons from the Swiss Referendum

Featuring Nenad Stojanovic and Enno Schmidt.


4. Promises and Limits of Past and Future Experiments

Featuring Yannick Vanderborght (overview), Guy Standing (on India), Jurgen De Wispelaere (on Finland), Alexander de Roo (on The Netherlands).


5. Moving Forward

Featuring Louise Haagh, Stanislas Jourdan, Roland Duchatelet, Yasmine Kherbache.


6. Final Reflections

Featuring Claus Offe, Gérard Roland, Joshua Cohen, Erik O. Wright.

Reviewed by Tyler Prochazka.

Cover Photo: BIEN’s 30th anniversary renunion , credit Enno Schmidt.