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Vellinge changes course to welcome refugee kids

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10:45 CET+01:00
Local politicians who previously voiced their disapproval at a move to house asylum seeker children in Vellinge look set to sign an agreement to invite more children to reside in the municipality in the future.

Moderate Party members met in Vellinge on Thursday to quickly push through council proposals to welcome more children in similar asylum circumstances.

Reports suggest the meeting has opened the way for the municipality to sign a direct agreement with the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

”In my world it means that we should have come to some conclusions within the next few weeks,” council chief Lars-Ingvar Ljungman told news agency TT.

”If you ask me whether that means the same as an agreement with Migrationsverket, it's one of the possibilities," he added.

"Now we are looking into this question to decide what is best for us and what is best for the children."

Vellinge hit the headlines last week when Ljungman protested against a joint venture between Malmö Council and a private initiative to turn a former youth hostel in the village of Hökopinge into temporary shelter.

Around 30 boys from Somalia and Afghanistan, who arrived in Sweden without a parent or guardian, were moved into the accommodation.

At that time, Ljungman said the municipality lacked the necessary means to be considered a good option for the children.

Following his outburst, two opinion polls conducted by the newspaper Sydsvenskan revealed that the majority of Veliinge residents didn't share his views.

Government politicians also voiced their disapproval over Ljungman's actions but council delegates on Thursday said they will continue to support him in his council leadership position.

Migration minister Tobias Billström has welcomed the turnaround in Vellinge.

”After the ongoing discussions, I think it would be only natural and appropriate for them to sign an agreement,” he said.

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