Migrants in Lampedusa: Italy will open migrant reception centers… in Albania

Italy's Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni and Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama give a joint press conference as they signed an agreement on migrations at Palazzo Chigi in Rome on November 6, 2023. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
TIZIANA FABI / AFP Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni and Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama give a joint press conference as they signed an agreement on migrations at Palazzo Chigi in Rome on November 6, 2023. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

TIZIANA FABI / AFP

Migrants in Lampedusa: Italy will open migrant reception centers… in Albania (Photo of Albanian Prime Minister Edil Rama and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome on November 6, 2023)

INTERNATIONAL – Italy will open two centers for , in Albania, a non-EU member state, under an agreement signed Monday in Rome by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni with her counterpart Edil Rama. An announcement that comes less than two months ago.

These two centers managed by Italy, operational in spring 2024, will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 migrants, or around 39,000 per year according to forecasts, according to a document communicated to AFP by government services.

These “two entry and temporary reception structures” will allow “quickly carry out procedures for processing asylum applications or possible repatriations”.

“Minors, pregnant women and vulnerable people” not concerned

In the first reception and triage center located at the port of Shengjin (north) the disembarkation and identification procedures will take place, while the center of Gjader, a town located around twenty km away, will be responsible for subsequent procedures.

The two centers, placed under Italian jurisdiction, will benefit from the collaboration of the Albanian police forces for security and surveillance activities.

This Italian-Albanian agreement “does not concern minors, pregnant women, and vulnerable people”specified Giorgia Meloni during statements to the press at government headquarters alongside Edil Rama.

Italy, faced with an influx of migrants since January (145,000 compared to 88,000 in 2022 over the same period), has appealed for solidarity from its European partners, without much result so far.

“The right to asylum is emptied of its substance”

“If Italy launches an appeal, Albania responds”said Edil Rama, attracting the support of Giorgia Meloni to enter the European Union. “Albania confirms that it is a friendly country and although it is not yet part of the EU it behaves as if it were a member state”she said. “I am proud that Italy has always been among the countries supporting enlargement to the Western Balkans”.

Italy is Albania’s largest trading partner, and trade between the two countries represents 20% of Albanian GDP.

The opposition to the coalition government between the far right and the right led by Giorgia Meloni establishing “a real deportation in flagrant violation of international law”in the words of Green and Left Alliance MP Angelo Bonelli.

“The principle of non-refoulement is clear and cannot be circumvented. We cannot tolerate the right to asylum being emptied of its substance through agreements to move people to a non-EU country without sufficient guarantees for their fundamental rights.”he denounced.

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