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DAY 46, BUS 2: Riga, Latvia

9 June 2018

Minimum Income in Latvia for an individual is 53 Euro per month. I paid 3.20 for a cappuccino in the coffee shop in the railway station. Clearly prices are converging in Europe while social standards are not. Such a European Union is intolerable. Serious efforts to change this reality is not only needed to fight poverty but also to protect and to build democracy. In addition, the conditions to access the minimum income are so many and so demanding that many stop to seek this support. Given such realities the existence of parallel economies is necessary for survival, but the existence of parallel economies makes the functioning of the ‘official economy’ severely less efficient. One more reason why adequate minimum income schemes that prevent as well as address poverty and exclusion is good for everybody.

We had a busy day on the square in Riga today. Great volunteers worked hard to ensure a steady engagement of the passing public in discussions about our #eminbus. Many people came straight to our bus asking where to sign as they had heard about the bus on the media. There was great support for our action including from those from the Russian speaking community.   We were encouraged that a representative of the Permanent Representation of the EU to Latvia attended and engaged in discussion with us at the bus. Andrejs Mamikins (MEP) also took time to visit us at the bus.  We can only hope that our positive message about how decent minimum income schemes are good for everybody, can encourage positive developments.