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BEGGING

Second Swedish town moves to ban begging

The town of Staffanstorp in southern Sweden has taken a step towards becoming the nation’s second to formally ban begging.

Second Swedish town moves to ban begging
File photo: Björn Lindgren/TT
On Wednesday evening, Staffanstorp’s municipal council board passed a proposal to ban begging within its borders, Sydsvenskan newspaper reported. The proposal passed by an eight to three vote, although this does not mean it can come into effect yet: it will be voted on by the municipal assembly next month.
 
Staffanstorp, located roughly 20 kilometres east of Malmö, would become the second Swedish municipality to ban begging.

In December, the first such ban came into effect after the by Supreme Administrative Court upheld regulations put in place by Vellinge, another town in Skåne. 
 
 
The Vellinge 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 another town was judged to be incompatible with public order laws. 
 
The ruling was expected to set a precedent and lead to more begging bans being introduced around Sweden, and now local politicians in Staffanstorp are the first to act in the aftermath of the court decision. Their ban would also be restricted to specific areas.
 
Pierre Sjöstrom of the Social Democrats was one of three council members to vote against the ban, arguing that there is no need. 
 
“We do not actually consider begging a problem in the municipality. We shouldn’t make a problem out of something that doesn’t exist,” he told Sydsvenskan. 
 
Eric Tabich of the Moderates voted in favour of the ban and said it was a matter of “public order” in part because beggars were such frequent users of toilets in local department stores, but also said that it was “mostly a matter of principles”.
 
 

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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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