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There is no place for them, the Italians transport illegal immigrants to Albania

There is no place for them, the Italians transport illegal immigrants to Albania

European countries have more than once tried to “outsource” their immigration procedures to third countries. However, for legal reasons, neither the agreement between Denmark and Rwanda nor the United Kingdom and Rwanda entered into force. The agreement reached by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her Albanian counterpart appears to be successful, which may then open the way for other countries to transfer asylum seekers outside Europe.

Albania statement Give Italy intends to build two reception centers on its territory capable of accommodating a total of 3,000 people. A total of 36,000 illegal immigrants will be processed annually in the two camps. According to the plans, identification and border crossing procedures will take place at the center next to the port of Shengjin, while migrants who do not qualify for asylum will be accommodated at the facility near the Gadir settlement. The Italian authorities bear responsibility for its operation and security, taking into account the relevant Italian and European legislation.

Disputes between the Italian authorities and migrants in the centers are resolved under Italian law. The Italian side is also responsible for transporting migrants to and from the facilities. The task of the Albanian authorities is to allow entry into the country and secure the areas surrounding the centers. Migrants can remain in Albania only during their detention period, after which the Italian authorities – at their own expense – transport them out of the country. In order to guarantee the right to protection, the camps are visited by lawyers and their assistants, as well as the European Union and other relevant international organizations and agencies.

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Italy bears the costs of maintaining the facilities. The first installment of 16.5 million euros must be paid 3 months after the ratification of the agreement. After that, Italy also provides a loan of 100 million euros to Albania.

The agreement quickly became the subject of internal political discussions in both countries. Matteo Maori The politician from the opposition Italian Democratic Party, a former deputy interior minister, described the plan as a waste of money. Ricardo Maggi The politician Pio Europe accused the Meloni government of creating an “Italian Guantanamo” where detainees were placed It cannot be verified. According to the Italian Bishops' Conference, the agreement proves that the government is unable to deal with migration challenges. The agreement was finally approved by the House of Representatives by 155-115, and the Senate 93-61 Percentage acceptable.

Former President and Prime Minister of Albania, Sally Berisha The issue is the current Prime Minister, Edi Rama Use it to attack. 28 representatives of the Democratic Party faction led by Berisha sent the agreement to the Albanian Constitutional Court in order to monitor the initial rules. According to the representatives, the agreement contradicts the Albanian Constitution and international law. The judges of Tirana finally decided on 29 January 2024 by a majority of 5:4 They saidThat the agreement is consistent with the constitution.

Olsi Shehu/Anadolu/Anadolu via AFP Albanians protest the agreement with Italy in front of the Albanian Constitutional Court in Tirana on January 29, 2024.

In November 2023, 29 Albanian NGOs sent an open letter to the government asking to withdraw the agreement, which they believe violates human rights and will lead to unlawful imprisonment. Billend Kelesi The Vice President of the Democratic Party indicated that Tunisia recently rejected a similar Italian offer, even though the government accepted it

Treason against Albania.

Many NGOs have criticized the project. According to Doctors Without Borders, this increases the suffering. “The aim is no longer simply to discourage people from leaving, but to work effectively to prevent people fleeing and people rescued at sea from reaching Europe quickly and safely, thus circumventing the protection and rescue obligations imposed by international law and European agreements.” Organization statement. Amnesty International He points out in his analysisThat the agreement “contradicts the legal regulations of the European Union.” In addition, citing previous cases, he accused the Albanian authorities of using excessive force and carrying out illegal deportations.

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Volker Türk The UN High Representative for Human Rights highlighted the living conditions of people living in the centers and the lack of access to asylum procedures as the main source of problems. The European Commission initially abstained from voting on the resolution, but later Ylva Johansson Swedish Commissioner for the Interior He saidThe agreement is outside European Union law. Ursula von der Leyen He provided a supporting statement about the draft in his annual review letter. Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar However, a Spanish representative in the European Parliament and a home affairs politician described the agreement as unacceptable. Among the leading European politicians Olaf Schulz He expressed his openness Regarding the agreement.

Many European countries have tried to outsource asylum procedures, but so far all plans have failed for various reasons. The UK and Denmark wanted to transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda, but were unable to do so due to concerns from local courts and international organisations. Austria also considered the “Rwanda Plan,” but the European Commission “Ineffective“Ruling. In Germany, the Social Democratic Party would be open to transferring asylum seekers to an unnamed African country, and the CDU-CSU party alliance is also dealing with this issue in its initial programme, but plans for practical implementation are not yet known.

If the Albanian parliament votes in favor of the agreement, Italy could become a great pioneer. Of course, the agreement in itself does not represent a solution to the challenges posed by the Central Mediterranean migration route and, moreover, following criticism from NGOs, it must also comply with additional provisions of European and international law. However, if implementation begins, the agreement is reached It can serve as a model Both for Member States and EU institutions.

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Albania could also benefit diplomatically from the agreement. Previously, by resolving the issue of Albanian citizens illegally arriving in the UK, and then at the European Political Community summit in Granada. I accepted Edi Rama's government has already proven that it can act as a reliable partner on the migration issue. It happened again. In addition, Tirana has strengthened its bilateral relations with Italy, which, in addition to being one of its most important economic partners, can play a key role in the expansion of the European Union into the Western Balkans.

Arpad BardocsAn employee at the Migration Research Institute.

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