DAY 32, BUS 2: Utrecht

26 May 2018

Today the bus was parked outside a shopping centre in the northern part of Utrecht. We had the opportunity to engage with a much more diverse public. Here, you also met people who feel the burden of the more precarious societies we are creating. While we had many supportive messages you also sensed and received messages about a lack of trust in politics and political institutions in general and the clear perception that the EU has contributed to this more precarious world. It is not a small minority that holds this view, so it must be acknowledged and responded to.

The European Pillar of Social Rights as a paper document will do nothing to change this reality. The EU and Member States needs to be seen to take concrete follow up actions to make the 20 rights, including the right to adequate income, a lived reality. Taking confidence building measures that can restore trust in our societies will be essential to ensure we have healthy democracies for the future.

In the evening we had a well-attended seminar in the ‘Johanneskerk centre’ with representatives from the European Parliament (Agnes Jongerius) and National Parliament (Linda Voortman), the City Council (Victor Everhardt) and active NGOs in the City including the local Coalition Against Poverty. The exchange was grounded with an opening presentation of an expert by experience.  Two images of what adequate Minimum Income should achieve remain from the discussions: one, that it should be enough to be able to afford your daily needs and ‘a flower on the table’, two, it should be enough to be able to give ‘mental peace’ to be able to recover and function effectively.