Reference Budgets


Standard Budgets (2008-2009)

Project team

Dachorganisation ASB Schuldnerberatungen, NIBUD, ADICAE, Réseau Financement Alternatif, e-marketing Association, in cooperation with the ECDN  

The transnational project "Standard Budgets" aimed to develop and strengthen the instruments that are needed to (better) use Reference Budgets. Under the supervision of Nibud, national reference budgets were developed in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and Spain, Finland and Germany.

History of the project

In 2007, some ecdn members co-developed the transnational project on “Standard Budgets” in order to promote the construction of such budgets in countries where they hadn’t been used so far. The project also set out to increase the exchange of actors of those countries who had been using such budgets for many years. The project was supported by the EU-Commission under its PROGRESS programme and run from January 2008 until December 2009.

Aims of the project

The main aim of the project is to promote the construction and use of reference budgets in different countries in Europe. The use of reference is an important instrument in combating social exclusion. Budget information and credit scores reduce problematic debts, and thus stimulates social inclusion. Advising public authorities on purchasing power effects of their policies also stimulates that these policies are more directed towards households that really need it.

Timetable of the project

After a kick-off meeting in Vienna, three European seminars were organised in the Netherlands (May 2008), in Spain (October 2008) and Bulgaria (May 2009) to enhance the exchange on existing budgets to supervise and discuss the development of reference budgets in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain as well as two reference budget projects in Finland and Germany. At the seminars, additional input and feedback from experts in various fields (research, debt advice, financial education, consumer protection, public authorities, anti-poverty NGOs, financial institutions) were given.

As one first result of these mutual learning processes, the project team decided to use the common term "Reference Budgets" for what has been, and still will be, known under various different names (including Standard Budgets, Budget Standards etc.) in the different countries.

In addition, each country where reference budgets were developed held two national workshops, gathering relevant stake holders, including people experiencing financial exclusion as well as national representatives of the above mentioned groups.

The results were discussed with relevant stakeholders at the project's final conference in Vienna (21–22 October).

ecdn and some of its members have set out to enforce the exchange of experiences with using reference budgets for social inclusion and to encourage organizations from across Europe to (further) develop and use reference budgets in the future.

Project coordination and contact: Applica sprl, Rue Van Campenhout 37, 1000 Brussels (Belgium)