• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Norway parliament debates begging ban

AFP · 16 Jun 2014, 21:44

Published: 16 Jun 2014 21:44 GMT+02:00

The proposal by the minority right-wing government, which is expected to pass and become law on Friday, would allow local authorities to ban begging from the start of summer.
 
An outright national ban would take effect at the start of 2015, as agreed by the two-party  governing coalition and a centrist opposition group, which together form a majority in parliament.
 
Those found guilty of begging in municipalities where the ban is enforced would face fines and up to three months in prison.
   
Norway's Justice Minister Anders Anundsen, of the ruling anti-immigration Progress Party, said there was "a link" between begging and crime, notably pickpocketing.
   
Norwegian authorities say the capital Oslo records as many pickpocket thefts as Berlin, whose population is seven times larger.
   
Roma immigrants from Romania are expected to be the most affected by the new law.
   
Out of 194 beggars that the justice ministry identified in Oslo in 2012, just seven were Norwegian nationals, while the others were mainly Romanian citizens. The vast majority of identified Romanian beggars had a criminal record in Norway, the justice ministry said.
   
Opponents of the law have likened it to anti-Jewish legislation that has since been repealed.
   
"How can you believe that in 200 years' time this will not be seen as an attempt to stop Roma entering the kingdom?" asked Bård Vegar Solhjell of the Socialist Left Party, referring to an article of the Norwegian constitution that barred Jews from entering the country 200 years ago. Other opponents said the law would not succeed in lowering crime rates.
Story continues below…
 
"If they can no longer (beg), they will be obliged to turn even more to crime," Arild Knutsen, head of a national drug addicts association, told Norwegian television.
   
The ban would mark a return to anti-begging laws that were in place in Norway until 2005 and bring the country in line with legislation in other European countries such as Britain and Denmark.
   
Following a first vote late on Monday, the legislation will undergo a second reading on Thursday and the Norwegian king is expected to formally approve it on Friday. 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Tromsø is ’world’s third-best small town’
Tromsø: one of the three best small towns in the world. Photo: CH - Visitnorway.com

Norwegian world traveller Gunnar Garfors - aka ‘that dude who visited very country’ – says that Tromsø is among the best destinations on the planet.

Norway kids and parents tell each other to log off
Parents and kids accuse each other of spending too much time online. Photos: Jan Haas and Frank May / NTB scanpix

Norwegian parents are critical of the amount of time their children spend online but their children feel the exact same way about them.

Norway firm opens office in Minecraft
The Oslo firm set up their island office on Norway's biggest Minecraft server. Screenshot: Heisholt Inc

The company behind the world's first ever live Minecraft concert has now set up shop within the popular gaming platform.

79-year-old Norwegian lands plane with no propeller
Garstad's propeller (left) was found after his crash landing at Sola (right). Photos: Arnstein Løvbrekke/NTB Scanpix and Florian Pépellin/WikiCommons

The veteran pilot said the air traffic controllers were "more flustered than me” when he told them he was coming in for a crash landing.

Norway oil investments set to drop again in 2017
After 15 years of solid growth boosted by rising oil and gas prices, the Norwegian economy has rapidly slumped. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Oil investments, one of the main drivers of Norway's economy, are expected to fall for a third straight year.

App-surd! Norwegians read app terms for 32 hours
The Norwegian consumer protection agency staged the readathon as part of its #appfail campaign. Photo: Forbrukerrådet

In a live-streamed 'readathon' Norway consumers read the "very bad" terms and conditions of popular smartphone apps.

Norway firm to buy portion of Finland defence company
Patria specializes in armoured vehicles. Photo: Patria

A portion of Finnish state-owned defence manufacturer Patria will be privatized through a sell to Kongsberg, a partially state-owned defence company in Norway.

'Historic': McDonald's agrees to contain Arctic cod fishing
The McDonald's on Nedre Slottsgate in Oslo. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX

For the first time ever, major players in the seafood industry have voluntarily imposed limitations on industrial fishing in the Arctic.

Norwegian ship rescues over 1,000 refugees
Kripos said that the ship had never before brought so many people on board. Photo: Kripos/Scanpix

The Norwegian rescue vessel Siem Pilot on Wednesday came to the aid of more than 1,000 people off the coast of Libya.

Shareholders at Norway's Opera accept Chinese bid
Opera's Oslo offices. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / Scanpix

Deal for the world's fight-biggest internet browser will now need US and Chinese approval.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Memo: Norway 'not mentally prepared' for refugees' impact
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Society
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
National
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
Politics
Norway's tough asylum plans face resistance
National
'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway
2,044
jobs available