From today, a new basic security, the „citizen income“, will apply in Italy. The government is celebrating the multi-billion dollar project as a socio-political feat. In fact, it bears some resemblance to Hartz IV.
By Tassilo Forchheimer, ARD Studio Rome
It is the favorite project of Italy’s Labor and Social Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio. The political head of the five-star movement – and next to Matteo Salvini Deputy Prime Minister – sells the introduction of the civic income for months as a socio-political feat that abolishes poverty in Italy. „Thanks to this measure, Italy will finally be able to keep pace with Europe socio-politically.“
In fact, the Italian citizen’s money is very similar to solutions in other countries, for example, with the Hartz IV benefits in Germany. One of the goals is the reintegration into the labor market, it is said. However, trade unionists like Annamaria Furlan doubt it. „Unfortunately, I have not yet understood how the job income should work,“ she says. It is much more important to create jobs.
It is estimated that up to 4.9 million people could be eligible in Italy. That would be about every twelfth inhabitant. The focus is on families, stresses the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. „For many fathers and mothers who have lost their jobs during these years and no longer know how to satisfy their children’s hunger, they will have an income again.“
Complex calculation basis
Whereby the actual circle of recipients is likely to go far beyond destitute families, even though the official regulations initially sound very restrictive. Di Maio explains: „If you want to receive the income from a citizen, you can not exceed an income and property indicator of 9360 Euro.“ Also not allowed is real estate worth more than 30,000 Euros, not including your own home higher than 6000 euros, for families it is 20,000 euros. “
Sounds easy. In reality, everything is much more complicated. The mentioned income and wealth indicator is calculated according to a very complex procedure in which, for example, the number of children plays an important role. And theoretically, families with a net annual income of around 30,000 euros can still be eligible. For single persons who live in rent, the maximum income is 780 Euro per month. For homeowners, it is at most 500 euros. For a family with two minor children the monthly maximum is 1180 Euro.
Bank card instead of money on account
The citizen’s money is not simply transferred to the account, but booked on a check card, which can be used directly for shopping. The first of millions of such plastic cards was personally presented by Maio – in a show reminiscent of the presentation of a new mobile phone in Silicon Valley.
With the bright yellow plastic cards are only monthly cash withdrawals up to the sum of 100 € possible. For families a maximum limit of 210 euros applies. The use of gambling of all kinds is expressly prohibited. Once applied for, the income from the citizen flows for 18 months. After a break of one month, a renewed application is possible.