Wednesday

23rd May 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.

Greenland votes with eye on independence

Six out of seven political parties running in Greenland's parliamentary elections on Tuesday are pro-independence, but they disagree on how fast the last ties to Copenhagen should be cut. Increasing dependence on China could be the consequence.

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.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  2. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption
  3. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  4. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  5. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  6. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  7. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  8. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK