Alexander Stubb, Minister for foreign affairs in Finland came out in opposition to his own party’s idea to make illegal begging on public streets. Mr. Stubb raised the interesting and quite novel idea that banning begging does not address the real issue of–POVERTY! Gee, this is innovative, imagine a political leader who believes there is poverty in his nation which causes people to beg or seek aid from the government! He sees panhandling, which in his nation, is frequently carried out by Roma immigrants, as a European wide problem that requires broader thinking on ways to deal with poverty among Roma people. He argues discrimination and prejudice has resulted in too many Roma not being able to secure decent paying jobs which results in begging on the streets in order to feed their children and family members. “Poverty is not a crime, but naturally if lyou add to the equation organized crime in some shape or form, then it should be tackled using the normal legal means available.”
Many Finnish political leaders seek to work with Romania and Bulgaria which are nations from which their Roma immigrants come and urge education and work programs that would address the issue of poverty. Stubb scoffed at a law which would fine poor people seeking to get money. How would fining the poor lead to the end of poverty?