The coastal town of Arendal in southern Norway has become the country’s first municipality to ban begging, after the state government granted local governments permission to do so.
Its local town council (bystyret) approved the ban this week by a vote of 21 to 18. Begging has been a hotly debated topic in Norway in recent years, especially after allegedly organized groups of beggars from eastern and southern Europe were allowed to travel to Norway without visas.
Arendal is a popular holiday destination in the summer months and state broadcaster NRK reported that begging there actually declined this year. The local town council already had stated, though, that it intended to impose a begging ban once it became legal to do so.