Roma Issues IV – Berry Picking Season Has Begun

Since Swedes are lazy (well…) and a people who enjoy comfort (true), those who has to pick berries in or forests are often coming from abroad. They may actually come in large numbers from as far as Thailand! Yes, these people travel to the other side of the planet to pick berries and sell them to wholesalers. They make (usually) a nice profit after all expenses are paid and can go back home and spend their hard earned cash.

In Sweden, we have this thing called “allemansrätten” – right of public access/freedom to roam. It’s quite unique and means that you have some rather astounding rights on privately owned land. You’re perfectly free to go and camp all over the country.

There are a few exceptions: you are not allowed to be a disturbance nor damage anything; you mustn’t cut down trees, disturb fields with crops and you can’t walk or tent to close to where people live (without permission). You can’t moor your boot close to a property that ends by the water without permission unless in an emergency.

In other words… Behave with respect and leave a place in the same condition you found it. Don’t litter and don’t destroy anything. Read about it here.

And, yes, “allemansrätten” gives you the right to pick berries to make money!

There has been problems, though, especially those years when the berries were either scarce or late. People got paid after what they picked and no picking means no money. For the Thai this was ruin! They’d borrowed money to buy tickets to get here, now they would have to go home and not be able to even pay back their loans. Thus, rules were changed and the Thai got financial guarantees and, later, were actually hired to come here.

There are people coming from other countries as well. In latter years many come from Bulgaria and probably also Romania.

The problem of late is the invasion of people who have absolutely no intention of honouring the basic tenet of the freedom to roam; do not disturb, do not destroy. Below is from Mehedeby which was invaded by 700 berry picking Bulgarians.

These are other examples of what the Bulgarians left behind. A veritable garbage dump. And it’s up to the land owner to clean up. The municipality won’t do it and the Bulgarians certainly had no intention of doing it. Just like they never, ever do.

And now, just in time for the berry picking season, the Bulgarians are coming back. Land owners have desperately tried to dig up the dirt roads to the places where they can camp. The dug up roads gets filled back in. Needless to say, those who have dug up the dirt roads in a vain attempt to keep the Bulgarians at bay are being called… Yes, you got it! Racists!

One landowner went to the Enforcement Authority to have the people evicted and was told that, fine! No problems! We just need their personal information and a fee of 600 SEK or 92 USD per person and they will be gone in a day! The fee of 600 SEK per person evicted, though, would cost the landowner 60.000 SEK or 9.200 USD.



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