On 16 May 2018, the new Mayor of the Swedish city of Gothenburg, Ms Ann Sophie Hermenson, received in audience the administrative committee of the Swedish-Eritrean Cultural Association ('Eritrea in Our Hearts') and discussed pressing issues adversely affecting Eritrean refugees in the region.
At opening the meeting, Mr. Tomas Magnusson, chairman of the Swedish-Eritrean Association, explained the various free services provided by the group to Eritrean refugees and listed five main problems encountered by the refugees, which are: 1.lack of residence houses; 2. problems in arranging family reunion;3. difficulties in obtaining residence permits; 4. the problems created by some interpreters who have relation with the Asmara regime; and 5. the recent moves at European level to revise laws in refugee acceptance, even affecting those who already obtained permanent residence permits.
On their part, association committee members Zehaie Keleta and Amjed Yassin, highlighted with concrete justifications the situation in Eritrea and why Eritreans, who now constitute the third largest group in the region, have fled home.
The Gothenburg Mayor said this was the first time for her to meet with the Swedish-Eritrean group and highly appreciated the community services provided by it. She pledged to study and address the queries raised by the delegation of the association and expressed willingness to attend a forthcoming event for celebrating Eritrea's 27 Independence Day.
Her work colleague, young Joseph Akar, who is in charge of education and employment in the city's administration, said this was the third time for him to meet and discuss with the active Swedish-Eritrean group in Gothenburg. He also disclosed that some 60,000 houses are planned to be constructed in the city and that job opportunities will be available for those who learn the Swedish language.