This is supposed to be a solution to Italy’s migration problem, although opponents of this concept talk about creating an Italian Guantanamo. Rome signed an agreement with Tirana under which camps for migrants will be created in Albania. They are intended to accommodate people who have illegally entered Italy. Rome speaks of a model from which all of Europe can draw.
Immigrants sailing from Africa to Italy will be sent back by ship to camps in Albania. Opponents of this idea call it the Italian Guantanamo, but the Italian Prime Minister talks about a model from which all of Europe can draw. – This is a very innovative and intelligent agreement. It met with great interest from other European partners. Of course, everything depends on whether we ensure its proper functioning. If successful, it will be an example worth following, emphasizes Giorgia Meloni.
The agreement between Rome and Tirana provides for the creation of two centers in Albania by next spring, to which up to 36,000 immigrants will be sent from Italy each year. Up to 3,000 people at one time.
In the first center, immigrants will be identified, in the second they will wait for their asylum applications to be considered. Both points will be operated by the Italian immigration services.
– The agreement provides that Albania will give Italy the opportunity to use part of its territory, where Italy will build, at its own expense and under its jurisdiction, two centers for the management of illegal immigrants. These structures will initially be able to accommodate up to 3,000 people who will stay there for the time necessary to quickly consider asylum applications and, if necessary, repatriation, Meloni explains.
The agreement will certainly not completely solve Italy’s problems. Only since the beginning of the year, over 140,000 immigrants have arrived on the Italian Peninsula.
Giorgia Meloni came to power promising new ideas to fight immigration, when EU refugee relocation plans, created mainly to help Italy, remained on paper. The agreement with Albania is to be valid for five years with an option to extend it for another five years. It is not known for sure how much Albania will earn for lending part of its territory.
Reservations to the agreement
The controversial solution is similar to the idea of the British, who want people crossing the English Channel to England to be sent to Rwanda and only there to submit asylum applications. The British Supreme Court ruled that this solution was unlawful.
The European Commission stated that the Italian idea does not violate EU law because Albania does not belong to the European Union. – Our preliminary assessment is that the agreement between Italy and Albania does not violate Community law because it is outside its scope – explains EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
Several European countries are considering the idea of outsourcing the problem of illegal immigration. The German government plenipotentiary for migration agreements stated that “the participation of a third country would be desirable, but we do not see an interested country that would do it in accordance with the principles of the rule of law.”
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the Italian branch of Amnesty International have great reservations about the agreement providing for sending immigrants outside the EU. – Automatic detention of these people would be contrary to international law. Transporting them on Italian ships to Albanian territory and keeping them in closed centers would be a violation of fundamental principles, says Serena Chiodo from Amnesty International.
One of these principles is non-refoulement, which states that a person who has been refused refugee status must not be deported to a country where he or she would be at risk of persecution.
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Main photo source: Reuters