Human rights organizations criticized it
Albania: Parliament approves an agreement on immigration with Italy

The Albanian Parliament approved an agreement with Italy regarding immigration, which will allow Rome to build two centers in the Balkan country to receive migrants and process asylum requests, while international and human rights organizations criticized it.

The Albanian Constitutional Court had previously rejected an appeal by representatives from the opposition Democratic Party against the controversial agreement, saying that it violates the constitution by transferring territory and state sovereignty to another country.

For its part, the International Rescue Committee, a non-governmental organization, condemned the agreement, considering it “inhumane,” while Amnesty International described it as “illegal and unworkable.”

Media outlets reported that 77 deputies in the Albanian Parliament voted on Thursday, February 22, in favor of the controversial agreement with Italy to host two reception centers for migrants rescued in Italian waters.

The agreement was adopted, which required a simple majority in the 140-seat parliament, while the opposition boycotted the vote.

Commenting on the move, Prime Minister Edi Rama said in a social media post, “Albania stands with Italy by choosing to act as a member state of the European Union“.

He added that Tirana helps “share a burden that Europe must confront unitedly as an integrated family in the face of a dangerous challenge that transcends traditional divisions between right and left.”

Late last month, the Constitutional Court approved the agreement, paving the way for the voting session to be held on Thursday. After the vote, the opposition criticized the agreement.

On the other hand, the leader of the right-wing opposition, Gazment Bardhi, told reporters that “the migration agreement harms national security, territorial integrity, and the public interest.”

The opposition parties in the two countries denounced the agreement several times, as well as human rights groups, which led to an appeal against it, which was taken up by the highest court in Albania.

Parliament’s approval came weeks after Italian representatives voted in favor of the agreement, as the House of Representatives supported it with a majority of 155 votes, 115 opposed, and two representatives abstained.

The agreement allows for the construction of two centers near the Albanian port of Shengjin, where asylum applications will be recorded, in addition to a facility in a nearby area to host those waiting for a response to their applications.

The two centers, which will be managed by Italy, have a maximum capacity of three thousand people.

The International Rescue Committee, a non-governmental organization, condemned the agreement as “inhumane” while Amnesty International described it as “illegal and unworkable”.

But the Albanian authorities responded by pointing out that the agreement was consistent with previous treaties signed with Italy and in compliance with international law and the country’s constitution.

Italy will finance the cost of building the two centers and the necessary facilities for them, and will also cover the costs of providing security and health care for asylum seekers, according to the Albanian authorities.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brotherhood of Italy party, was elected in 2022, pledging to prevent migrant boats coming from North Africa.

However, the number of arriving migrants continued to rise from about 105,000 in 2022 to about 158,000 last year, according to official figures.

Scroll to Top