Italy: Asylum Centers in Albania Set to Begin Operations in August

  1. Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, announced that reception centers in Albania, intended for refugees from outside the European Union, will commence operations in August. This follows Italy’s signing of a migration agreement with Albania seven months ago. Meloni made this announcement during a meeting with her Albanian counterpart, Edi Rama, after the completion of the refugee camp in the coastal city of Shëngjin.

According to the plan, the reception center will accommodate migrants who arrive by boat from the Mediterranean. The center will also conduct initial assessments to determine the refugees’ potential for obtaining asylum. Meanwhile, preparations are underway for another asylum camp in Gjadër, which is expected to be operational as soon as possible.

Italy will transfer migrants, who have been collected by Italian authorities on a ship in the high seas, to the camp. The plan also focuses on migrants who arrive in Italy by boat. Italy is one of the countries most affected by the movement of refugees from Africa to Europe through the Mediterranean. Tens of thousands of asylum seekers arrive in Italy each year.

Meloni assumed office in 2022 and has since implemented several measures to tighten Italy’s migration policy. One of these measures includes relocating migrants to camps located outside the European Union, with the aim of expediting the asylum screening process and facilitating deportations.

According to the plan, the two reception camps in Albania will receive 36,000 asylum seekers per year. The medical and asylum screening procedures will take place in Schengen camp and then they will be transferred to Gjadër camp.

This plan sparked widespread controversy within both countries. Also, the Italian opposition has argued that the agreement is illegitimate and criticized the potentially poor conditions for migrants in the reception camps. They have likened these conditions to Italian Guantanamo.

According to the agreement, Italy bears the costs of the migrant reception camps and takes over their management, security, and all associated direct and indirect expenses. The expected cost over the next ten years is 675 million euros, including 142 million euros in 2024.


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