EU migrant crisis Italy to build migrant centers in Albania
Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy, has announced that two centers will be constructed in Albania to house tens of thousands of illegal migrants.
A news conference was held with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Rome to announce the plan.
A total of 36,000 people will be able to be processed by the centers once they open in spring next year, Ms Meloni said.
Migrants rescued at sea by Italian boats will be covered by the plan, not those who arrive on Italian shores.
It will not apply to pregnant women, children, or vulnerable people, Meloni said, adding that the migrants will stay in the centers while Italy examines their asylum requests.
Approximately 3,000 people will be accommodated each month in the structures, which will be built at Italy’s expense, “for the duration of the asylum process and, if necessary, for repatriation”.
Centres will be constructed in north-west Albania at the port of Shengjin and in Gjader. A police force and security personnel will be provided by Albania.
Although Albania does not belong to the EU, Ms Meloni said that it is already acting like one. Her support for Albania’s entry into the EU was based on the fact that she believes “Albania is, for all intents and purposes, a European country.”
After the fall of the Communist regime in the 1990s, Mr Rama praised Italy’s citizens and institutions as helping Albanians.
He concluded, “We might not be able to solve the problem alone, but we have a duty to… help Italy.”.
While Ms Meloni was on holiday in Albania over the summer, Mr Rama said he and Ms Meloni discussed the migrants center agreement.
The agreement has been criticized by opposition politicians in both Italy and Albania.