Tuesday

20th Feb 2018

Focus

Sweden mulls ban on begging

Sweden’s government is considering introducing a ban on begging, after similar restrictions have been put in place in other Nordic countries.

”Begging on Swedish streets can never solve the major problems of exclusion and poverty in Romania and Bulgaria”, Sweden's minister for public administration Ardalan Shekarabi said on Thursday (18 August).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

”The point of departure for this government is to defend and develop the Swedish [social] model. It’s hardly part of the Swedish model to solve poverty with begging,” he added.

He spoke in Reykjavik at a meeting with his Nordic colleagues who had gathered to discuss pressing issues for Nordic municipalities.

Some 4,000 people - mostly Roma people from Romania - are said to be seeking alms in Sweden.

The equality minister Asa Regner, a Social Democrat like Shekarabi, last year urged Swedes to support organisations working with poor people in Romania rather than giving money to those on Sweden’s streets, but said she was against a ban.

The government’s coordinator on begging, Martin Valfridsson, wrote in a report earlier this year it would be difficult to ban the practice.

”You would either have to criminalise the act of asking for help, or criminalise giving. I don’t think either is a good idea,” Valfridsson told Swedish Radio in May.

The government’s turn-around comes after it commissioned a poll on the question, which showed that half of voters support a ban. A quarter were against, and the rest did not have an opinion.

The government’s coalition partner, the Greens, are fiercely opposed to a ban and campaigned for a housing guarantee for EU migrants.

Nordic countries

Two other Nordic countries have introduced restrictions on begging. Under Denmark's national ban, repeated begging can be sentenced with up to six months in prison. In 2014, a Danish government spokesperson said the ban meant that those who wanted to beg could go to Sweden - a statement that strained relations with its Northern neighbour.

Norway failed to introduce a national ban last year, after one of the government’s support parties refused to back the proposal. Some municipalities introduced local bans instead, but only one still has it in force.

Finland’s previous governments have also discussed the idea, but no ban was ever introduced.

Trump says US could stay in Paris deal

President Donald Trump hinted that the US could 'conceivably' stay in the Paris climate change agreement, during a meeting in which Norway's PM pointed out the sales of US-made Tesla electric cars in her country.

Interview

Nordic-Baltic digital market 'no threat to EU'

'What we want do is add value on top, and do things' such as border controls and free data movement, said Norwegian state secretary Paul Chaffey about Nordic-Baltic digital cooperation.

Stakeholder

Behind the scenes of the Nordic model

The Nordic is comprised of 74 regions and, combined, is the 12th largest economy in the world. The State of the Nordic Region 2018 gives a unique look behind the scenes of the world's most integrated region.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  2. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  4. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  5. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  6. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  8. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  9. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  10. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  11. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  12. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”

Latest News

  1. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme
  2. Commissioner Katainen confirms Barroso lobbied him
  3. Eurogroup chief pledge on transparency after meeting MPs
  4. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission
  5. Spain's De Guindos to be ECB vice-president
  6. Conservative 'buccaneering Brexit' narrative unrealistic
  7. MPs demand Council become more transparent
  8. Eurogroup starts process to pick new ECB chiefs