Photo:Hasse Holmberg/TT
romanian ambassador

Allowing begging obstructs Roma integration

Romania's Ambassador to Sweden, Raduta Matache, writes in Dagens Nyheter that Swedish legislation which allows begging makes it more difficult for Romania to integrate its Roma population. The words though were strongly criticised by Roma groups in Sweden.

The ambassador states that Romania has a comprehensive plan to support and integrate the Roma into society. That some of them are attracted to make money in Sweden without working, she writes,complicates the work that her government is pursuing.

Matache writes that street begging is banned in several European countries, including Romania. She thinks it is important that begging is not encouraged in Sweden and wants the current legislation to be reviewed.

The ambassador's words were criticised late on Saturday. "Romania has absolutely no human values ​​regarding Roma, they are considered junk and they would rather deport all of them to an island. If begging was outlawed, what happens then? Romania is way off really working for social welfare and human rights," the International Roma and Travellers Women's Centers President Rosita Grönfors told DN.

"Exclusion and discrimination is what Romania stands for. The country must obtain a sensible plan of action for how to take care of its citizens. Does she really think anyone would flee the country to beg under difficult circumstances far away in Sweden if it were that good in Romania?", said Rosita Grönfors.

The Romanian ambassador also told Dagens Nyheter that she wants Swedish and Romanian authorities to cooperate in various ways to find a solution to the street begging. Last month, two Liberal Party politicians (FP) wrote a debate article where they stated that Romania and other EU countries themselves should bear the social costs of citizens who beg in Sweden. In March, the Romanian Health Minister Eugen Nicolaescu will visit here to discuss the issue.

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