Roma beggars in Sweden: Secret negotiations
For several months the Swedish government has had secret negotiations with Romania to try to help the Roma people who come to Sweden to beg for money in the streets. The discussions have, however, foundered. ”I’m angry, sad and disappointed. But we’re not giving up,” says EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson. The beggars in Sweden are increasing in numbers. Around 90 percent of them are Romanians, who have traveled to Sweden to find ways to support themselves, according to studies from Stockholm City’s social services. The situation with these poor Romas has led to an intense debate, and this is where Sweden differs from many other European countries with the same problems: ”We have a more empathetic view of these people. I think other countries, especially Romania, are surprised at how we view things,” Ohlsson says to daily DN. She explains that many Swedes feel sympathy for the beggars and want to help, and that Romania has gotten this message now. ”I get very provoked when people put forward proposals on a begging ban,” she says. The misery that many of these beggars live in has forced Sweden’s politicians to face a new situation where the issue of responsibility is unclear. Who is responsible for these people? Is it the municipality? The Swedish government? The European Union? It is questions like these that led the Swedish government to start the secret negotiations with Romania some months ago to try to pressure the country to take better care of its citizens. Since Romania is a very poor country (the second poorest nation in the EU), the Swedish strategy has been to get the country to use more of its support from the EU to help their poor. Romania has received billions in the form of EU support but only collected a little less than a third, and only a fraction of this has gone to the beggars. The negotiations have been intense and consisted of a number of meetings with the Romanian government. But Romania has given Sweden the cold shoulder, which is why Ohlsson has chosen to talk publicly about the secret meetings. ”We’ve tried to get Romania behind this proposal, but so far they’ve refused. I think it has to do with political unwillingness and political prestige, they don’t want other countries putting their nose in their internal political affairs. This is also not an issue that Romanian governments and politicians win elections on. I get mad at the lack of interest they’ve shown in the matter.” Ohlsson says Sweden has been ”patient” during the negotiations. She says Romania will only consider a partnership with Sweden, without having the EU involved, which is not acceptable to Sweden. ”For a successful recipe one must include expertise from across Europe,” says Ohlsson. EU commissioner Laszlo Andors proposes Sweden integrate these beggars and give them jobs, to which Birgitta Ohlsson replies: ”The Romanian Roma begging on the streets in Sweden have a right to stay in Sweden for three months, just like any other European Union citizen. It they have a job with which to support themselves they are welcome to settle here.”

Ad intensity
The buying of ads in Sweden decreased 3 percent in 2012 over the year before, but the advertising investment per capita is still so great that Sweden ends up in 7th place globally, according to TT. The world’s advertising market in 2012 was 379 billion SEK ($58 billion), while Sweden’s alone was 3 billion SEK ($460 million).

No to reasearch on ”rainbow children”
”Regnbågsbarn” is Swedish for rainbow children, meaning children from families not thought of as conventional nuclear families, i.e. children with two mothers or two fathers. The concept comes from the rainbow symbol for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender social movements. The Regional Ethical Review Board put a stopper on a research project that would look into a possible connection between children with asthma and their parents’ sexual preferences. The board said no, since the research was deemed unfounded and unjustified, according to SVT’s Smålandsnytt.