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BEGGING

Swedish politician proposes ban on begging

A Moderate Party MP sparked a debate on Wednesday when she said that she wanted to ban begging from the streets of Sweden.

Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Cecilia Magnusson, a Member of Parliament for Sweden's Moderate Party, made the statements in an opinion piece in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper on Wednesday.

She outlined that if Sweden were to ban begging, poverty wouldn't need to be reduced – as it could be eradicated. 

The Gothenburg politician described Sweden's broadening begging situation as provocative for the Swedes who have to witness it. 

"Many people feel provoked and feel bad when they see people begging outside the shops," she wrote. 

She added that rather than following the "unrealistic" rules of limiting EU beggars to their three visa-free months in Sweden, it would be simpler to implement a total ban.

Magnusson's thoughts, however, were not supported by her fellow Moderate Party members.

"We have been very clear that a ban won't solve the problem," Justice Minister Beatrice Ask told the TT news agency. 

She added that it was "unfortunate" that with elections around the corner, Magnusson decided to stray from what Ask referred to as an official party stance. 

Opposition leader Stefan Löfven, meanwhile, took the chance to point the finger at the Moderates.

"Thinking like this is typical right-wing ideology," he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

"You can't just do away with poverty by changing the laws. You have to work to beat poverty."

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ROMA

Sweden fails to cut number of ‘vulnerable EU migrants’

The number of homeless beggars from Romania and Bulgaria living in Sweden is as high as it was three years ago, according to the new government figures.

Sweden fails to cut number of 'vulnerable EU migrants'
A man begs with a sign asking for work. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
“There are around 4,500 to 5,000 vulnerable EU citizens currently in Sweden,” Claes Ling-Vannerus, Sweden's national coordinator on the issue, told Swedish state broadcaster SVT.
 
This is the same number estimated in a report  three years ago from Martin Valfridsson, who was appointed by the Swedish government to investigate the issue and what to do about it. 
 
Sweden appointed the national coordinator to work with the governments of Romania and Bulgaria on providing aid to ethnic Roma communities to reduce the attraction of travelling to other European countries to beg. 
 
Municipalities across Sweden and volunteer organisation have offered shelter and food to those in need. 
 
Others have taken a tougher approach, with police this year starting to enforce a begging ban in Vellinge, near Malmö, the first municipality in Sweden to bring in such a ban.
 
 
Ling-Vannerus said that Sweden had recently been seeing growing numbers of poor people from Romania and Bulgaria being put to work “in substandard conditions” as cleaners or builders, or in car garages. 
 
“My conclusion is that it is very attractive to come to Sweden with the life we live here and with free movement of people, it's hard to stop that.” 
 
Sweden appointed the national coordinator to work with the governments of Romania and Bulgaria on providing aid to poor ethnic Roma communities in their countries to reduce the attraction of travelling to other European countries to beg. 
 
Municipalities across Sweden and volunteer organisation have offered shelter and food to the help those who travel to Sweden. 
 
This year police began enforcing a begging ban in Vellinge, near Malmö, the first municipality in Sweden to bring in such a measure. 
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