Sweden cooperating with Bulgaria and Romania concerning vulnerable EU citizens

In recent years, the number of EU citizens who are temporarily in Sweden has risen. These people are in a vulnerable situation. Most of those who come to Sweden to beg do so of their own volition. But organised crime with a link to begging is also prevalent, such as trafficking in human beings and extortion.

  • Åsa Regnér visiting a school

    Åsa Regnér visiting a school.

    Photo: Joanna Abrahamsson/Government Offices of Sweden

  • Blond woman and man in blue suit.

    “The memorandum of understanding has strengthened our bilateral relations and served as a platform for exchanges in efforts concerning vulnerable groups at various levels. At the same time we are enhancing our expertise through study visits at expert level. The MoU has also facilitated cooperation at EU level,” said Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér. Here with State Secretary Adrian Marius Dobre of Romania.

    Photo: Mats Bäckelin/Government Offices

  • Blond female doing gestures with her hands. A man is listening.

    Åsa Regnér and Ivailo Kalfin have signed a cooperation agreement between Sweden and Bulgaria. The agreement, which covers issues dealing with gender equality, children, the elderly and people with disabilities, is to improve the situation of vulnerable EU citizens.

    Photo: Government of Bulgaria

  • Åsa Regnér och Ivailo Kalfin

    Åsa Regnér and her Bulgarian counterpart Ivailo Kalfin want to increase cooperation on vulnerable EU citizens.

    Photo: Mats Bäckelin/Government Offices

MoU in focus when Åsa Regnér visited Romania

Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér visited Bucharest on 4–5 September 2017. The purpose of the visit was to follow up on the Government’s work on Romania and Sweden’s bilateral memorandums of understanding on social issues. The current work plan is set to expire at the end of the year and during the visit discussions focused on how to develop and intensify cooperation.
Ms Regnér met with responsible ministers, organisations and state institutions working on Roma issues and parliamentarians. She also participated in a conference on the 2030 Agenda and visited a school.

Two years of cooperation between Sweden and Romania

It is two years since Romania and Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation and the exchange of knowledge about children’s rights, gender equality and social welfare. “The memorandum of understanding has strengthened our bilateral relations and served as a platform for exchanges in efforts concerning vulnerable groups at various levels. At the same time we are enhancing our expertise through study visits at expert level. The MoU has also facilitated cooperation at EU level,” said Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér.

Article: Sweden and Romania exchange experiences

Strengthened and increased collaboration and enhanced coordination

The Government has tasked the Stockholm County Administrative Board with strengthening collaboration and developing coordination between the actors that encounter vulnerable EU citizens who are temporarily residing in Sweden and who do not have right of residence.

The Government has tasked the National Board of Health and Welfare with revising its guidance on EU law and social aid, and offering support to the social services in matters concerning children of vulnerable EU citizens.

The Government has presented a package of measures containing action for increased collaboration within the EU and cooperation agreements with Romania and Bulgaria. The agreements also cover areas such as children's law, gender equality and social issues. 

Pressreleases
Headline Date  Link
Cooperation agreement on social welfare issues signed between Sweden and Bulgaria 05 February 2016 Pressrelease

National coordinator proposes giving coordination responsibility for vulnerable EU citizens to county administrative boards

01 February 2016 Pressrelease
Bilateral meeting between Minister Åsa Regnér and Minister Ivailo Kalfin 09 September 2015 Joint Pressrelease
Combating vulnerability and begging – no one should have to beg 17 August 2015 Pressrelease

Facts: Free movement within the EEA

The rules on free movement within the European Economic Area (EEA) entail a considerable right for EEA citizens and their family members to move and reside freely throughout the EEA. The right of free movement for EEA citizens is of essential importance to European integration and must not be restricted.

One aspect of free movement is that an increasing number of people in the EEA live in severe poverty and social exclusion. Many people come to Sweden in the hope of finding a means of support. These vulnerable women and men come primarily from Romania and Bulgaria. Many are poor Roma who, in some cases, are subjected to antiziganism. They often live under extremely difficult conditions in Sweden and in a vulnerable situation that may have health consequences and expose them to the risk of being the victims of crime.