Norwegian MP tars Bulgarian, French and Romani people with the same brush
Agence France-Presse reported on Friday, 3 May that an MP with the second-strongest party in the Norwegian Parliament, the populist “Progress Party”, has called for the monarchy to close its borders to “organized groups of Roma, Bulgarians and Frenchmen”, labeling them notorious criminals. MP Per Sandberg, whose party scores political points through its anti-immigrant rhetoric in particular, proposed taking “three immediate steps to stop the influx of beggars and criminals” into the country.
"The police can (on the basis of existing legal regulations) stop these international organized groups of Roma, Bulgarians or Frenchmen, because we know from experience that these people disturb public order, and it is also proven that many of them are involved in crime,” declared Sandberg, who also chairs the parliament’s committee on the law. A debate is now being held in Norway on whether to ban begging, which is currently undergoing a sharp rise.
Elections to parliament will take place in Norway this September. Public opinion surveys suggest that the populists could strengthen their position and enter government. The Norwegian media has reported that Sandberg initially focused his statements only on Romani people, adding the Bulgarian and French examples so it would not seem as if he was targeting just one nationality.
Most Western European countries are reportedly grappling with an influx of a large number of Romani people, especially from Bulgaria and Romania. In addition to begging and petty crime, the newcomers allegedly do their best to exploit generous social welfare systems in those countries. In recent years several countries, with France in the lead, have decided to deport these people back to their countries of origin and have earned criticism from human rights organizations for doing so.
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