AFP/The Local | 7 Nov 2013, 07:10
The far-right Sweden Democrats on Wednesday proposed jailing or deporting foreigners caught begging in public in Sweden.
"Make begging in Sweden an offence for foreigners and impose the punishment of expulsion or an entry ban" for a certain amount of time, the party wrote in a political programme.
The Sweden Democrats entered parliament for the first time in 2010 on an anti-immigration, eurosceptic platform, and the party hopes to win even more seats in September 2014 legislative elections.
The latest opinion polls show the party has around 12 percent support among voters.
According to the party, in a section of the programme entitled "fight against criminality", there are two types of beggars in Sweden: foreigners and those born in Sweden.
"The main reason beggars come to Sweden is to beg in a professional manner. We can compare them to Swedish beggars who often beg because of their homelessness or addiction to alcohol or drugs.
"The Sweden Democrats think that professional begging has no place here in Sweden. We also feel that Swedish social protection must first of all be directed towards, and take care of, our fellow citizens," according to the document.
Sweden has relatively few homeless people, however their number has increased as a result of the economic crisis in Europe.
The government in 2012 counted 370 homeless European Union citizens in the country, most of whom were men or