Italy will open two centers in Albania – which is not a member of the EU – to receive migrants rescued at sea. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has signed an agreement with her Albanian counterpart Edil Rama.
The two Italian-run centers should be operational by spring next year. They will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 migrants, or about 39,000 per year according to current expectations. This is evident from a document that government services provided to the French news agency AFP.
The two reception centers must allow the procedures for processing asylum applications and possible repatriations to be processed quickly. The first center will be located in the port of Shëngjin. There the migrants will be disembarked and identified. The center in Gjadër is then responsible for further procedures.
Both centers will come under Italian jurisdiction. The Albanian police are responsible for protection and surveillance.
The Italian-Albanian agreement does not cover “minors, pregnant women and vulnerable persons,” said Meloni, alongside Rama.
Italy has seen 145,000 migrants arrive since January, compared to 88,000 in the same period last year. Rome appealed for solidarity from European partners, but received no response. “When Italy makes a call, Albania is present,” Rama said. He receives Meloni’s support for Albanian EU membership.
“Albania confirms that it is a friendly country and although it is not yet a member of the EU, the country behaves as if it were a member state,” she said. “I am proud that Italy has always been one of the countries supporting enlargement to the Western Balkans.”
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