Sweden's first begging ban comes into force

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Sweden's first begging ban comes into force
A woman is pictured begging on a snowy Swedish street. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

The top administrative court in Sweden has given the go-ahead to a begging ban in a town in Skåne, the first to introduce such a regulation.


The municipal board (kommunstyrelse) in Vellinge first voted in favour of the ban in August 2017, but that decision was later overturned, first by a county administrative board and later the administrative court of appeal. These earlier decisions were made on the grounds that the council had failed to show that people collecting money caused public disturbance.

But the new decision from Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court means the ban is valid, and came into effect from Monday, the local mayor said.

"Our [earlier] decision applies from today onwards," confirmed mayor Carina Wutzler, who said it was "very positive" that the municipality had been given the authority to introduce the ban.

The ban on begging or passive money collection applies to five defined areas in the municipality, a measure introduced after a municipality-wide begging ban in Sala was judged to be incompatible with public order laws.

This ruling sets a precedent, coming from the highest administrative court in the country, which could lead to more begging bans being introduced around Sweden.

Previous efforts to introduce begging bans have also been made in Eskilstuna and Kungsbacka, while Sweden's centre-right Moderate Party on Monday reiterated earlier calls for a nationwide begging ban, which already exists in neighbouring Denmark.

Rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Crossroads, a Swedish charity supporting vulnerable EU citizens, have criticized anti-begging laws, arguing that they put people already living in poverty at risk of social exclusion and legal penalties.


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