On 25 June 2020 the Latvian Constitutional Court ruled that the current Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) currently set at 64€ per month is too low to ensure a life in dignity and thus non-constitutional, as reported in an article of the Baltic Times. This ruling was issued following a year-long research, policy and advocacy campaign by EAPN Latvia in their fight for adequate minimum income, human dignity and social rights for all Latvian citizens. The various efforts of EAPN Latvia to ensure legislative changes on the GMI are summarised in a Briefing Note.
The ruling of the Constitutional Court of Latvia of 25 June 2020 was also critical of the calculation method for the GMI. It highlights that the amount of the Guaranteed Minimum Income, the “safety-net of last resort” in Latvia is set on the basis of a political agreement between municipalities and the government. However, it lacks both a methodological justification for the GMI amount in order to ensure human dignity, and social inequality and a transparent procedure, involving key stakeholders. The Latvian government now has time until the end of 2020 to present new legislation and to get it adopted by the Latvian Parliament (Saeima).
The Briefing Note elaborated by EAPN Latvia provides background information on all key points from the ruling of the Constitutional Court and the submission made by the Ombudsman. It well illustrates the absolute inadequacy of the GMI amount, the lack of a transparent and participatory procedure to set the benefit level and the problem that the amount had not been adjusted for years.
Since 2013 EAPN Latvia has actively participated in the EMIN research and advocacy activities and used relevant EMIN material to make its case, in line with the key demands of EAPN on minimum income (see EAPN Position Paper on Adequate Income of May 2020).