Spain intends to implement a form of basic income as response to the coronavirus crisis. According to the Social Security Minister, the government plans to realise the basic income “as soon as possible”. Spain has already declared a state of emergency since the country is dealing with the second worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

Spain is currently the European country second most affected by the coronavirus after Italy. The Spanish government have ordered a state of emergency and the country faces a lockdown as the economy stands still. The government under socialist prime minister Pedro Sánchez has already announced a series of measures to support self-employed workers as well as small and medium-sized companies. Now they are going one step further: as response to the crisis, Spain intends to implement a basic income.

Spain fights coronavirus with social measures

The Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calviño indicates the basic income is part of a package of measures fighting the social impacts of the coronavirus. The focus is on supporting families. Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva plans to get the project started “as soon as possible”, news Platform Bloomberg reports.

The short-term goal is to assist citizens and families who lost their income due to the crisis. The government aims to make the basic income a long-term resource, though. “That stays forever, that becomes a structural instrument, a permanent instrument,” says Economy Minister Calviño.

Nadia Calviño, Economy Minister, proposes a basic income to answer the coronavirus in Spain
Nadia Calviño, Spanish Economy Minister, proposes a basic income to answer the coronavirus / picture: Jorge Alvaro Manzano

Comeback of the welfare state

The idea of a basic income is the provision of social security for everyone. Models of the concept have already been tested in several regions, such as Finland and the Netherlands.

Apart from Spain, other countries are also taking measures that would have been unthinkable before the coronavirus took the world by storm. Portugal, for example, has decided to open up the health and welfare system for everyone – regardless of residence status. Whoever lives in Portugal during the pandemic will have full access to the health and social system.

The current crisis shows: a welfare state is irreplaceable. The impacts of the coronavirus couldn’t be handled without a public health care system or policies like unemployment compensation or sick pay. Even conservative governments around the world now rely on the welfare state.

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picture: Jorge Alvaro Manzano