• 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Opponents of the law have likened it to anti-Jewish legislation that has since been repealed.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
No distress call in Norway helicopter crash
The pilots reportedly gave an "everything okay" update shortly before the crash. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The pilots in Friday’s fatal helicopter crash did not send out a distress call before the aircraft went down, indicating that there was no time to react.

Norway's oil fund to take on executive pay controversy
If the fund takes a stance on executive pay, it could be felt in corner offices around the world. Photo: Iris/Scanpix

Norway could greatly influence the global debate on CEO salaries with a change to its investment strategies.

Looming strike could paralyse Norway public services
Representatives of the four large trade union confederations and state representative Gisle Norheim (centre). Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

The state is "very far" from a labour agreement with some 100,000 public employees.

All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Rescue crews reported no signs of survivors. Photo: Marit Hommedal/Scanpix

UPDATED: Eleven dead bodies have been recovered and the two remaining people are presumed dead.

Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
A throw-back photo before the beard and hair reached their full potential. Photo: Lasse Matberg/Instagram

Hot enough to melt snow, this apparent reincarnation of Thor has captured hearts the world over.

Norway's sovereign fund posts negative return
Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest, posted a negative return in the first quarter after being tapped by the government to balance its budget for the first time ever.

Philippine troops attack Norwegian hostage's captors
Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad (right) in a still from a previous video released by SITE. Photo: Screen Grab

Philippine warplanes on Thursday attacked Islamic militants holding a Norwegian and 19 other foreign hostages.

Norway vows to change child welfare practices
Minister of Children and Equality Solveig Horne has announced a series of changes to how the Norwegian Child Welfare Service operates. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Following global protests, Norway prepares changes and reviews of the Child Welfare Service (Barnevernet).

Statoil tops expectations to stay in the black
The Statoil headquarters in Fornebu. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Norwegian oil giant Statoil held up better against lower oil prices than expected.

Philippines vows military strike on Norwegian's captors
The Abu Sayyaf terrorists have killed one captive and have threatened to kill the others, including Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad (right). Photo: NTB Scanpix

Following the execution of a Canadian hostage, Philippine President Benigno Aquino says he will 'neutralize' the terrorists still holding a Norwegian and up to 20 others.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
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
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
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
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose International Health Insurance
Politics
Norway's tough asylum plans face resistance
National
'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway
National
Oslo is the real ‘Capital of Scandinavia’
Health
Norway ads use Hitler teddy bear to scare parents... about dust
National
Migrants: Norway 'sending us to death' in Russia
Norway under fire over tough new asylum plans
Health
Norway doctors push plan for 'tobacco-free generation'
2,107
jobs available