Rome: Italian Premier Giogia Meloni unveiled a plan to send migrants temporarily to its neighbour across the Adriatic Sea, as she met with her Albanian counterpart in Rome. Thousands of migrants will be sent to Albiania while their asylum bids are being processed.
”The agreement consists in the fact that Albania will give Italy the opportunity to use some areas of Albanian territory in which Italy can create, at its own expense, under its jurisdiction, two structures where it can set up centres for the management of illegal migrants.
The launch of the centers has been set for spring 2024.
In mid-September, the Italian government said that nearly 126,000 migrants had arrived on its shores since the start of the year, up from 66,000 during the same period last year.
NGOs say dispositions of the agreement are illegal.
“The moment people are rescued at sea by Italian ships – we are talking about ships of the Coast Guard, the Navy, the Finance Guard – the moment these people are rescued by these ships, they are technically on Italian territory. When they disembark in Albania we are already talking about an act that goes against international law, but also against European law,” Giorgia Linardi, Migration Advocacy Expert and NGO Sea Watch’s spokesperson said.
The question of who will handle the deportation of rejected applicants remains unclear.
A priest who serves as chaplain at the non-profit rescue group Mediterranea Saving lives, fears beyond the legal concerns, there are solidarity and ethical concerns.
“Above all it wounds their humanity because people rescued by ships from one country then are deported to another that is outside of the European Union and put inside these centers risks becoming something that really destroys their, and also our, humanity,” father Mattia Ferrari said.
Children and pregnant women will be excluded from the plan.
With a large number of arrivals and limited number of initial asylum processing centres, Italy’s facilities are overcrowded.
Before Albania, the coastal European nation, sought more solidarity, mainly in vain, from fellow EU nations.