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Italy’s green light to ship boat migrants to Albania

Italian PM Meloni’s election promise to limit the number of boat migrants entering the country looks like being fulfilled with help from Albania. A deal was recently approved that provides for two reception centres for asylum seekers in Albania. Dr Mark Klaassen, an expert in immigration law, questioned the agreement on Dutch RTL news site.

The deal means that boats carrying migrants that are intercepted by the Italian coast guard in its territorial waters will be taken to Albania. Minors, vulnerable people and pregnant women will be spared; these groups will be allowed to proceed to Italy, according to RTL news.

Violation of EU law

Italy will be responsible for migrants held at reception centres in Albania. ‘So the country, in fact, is running an asylum centre outside its own national borders,’ says Klaassen. At these reception centres, the Italian authorities will assess whether or not a migrant qualifies for a residence permit. Depending on the outcome of this assessment, the person can still be brought to Italy or be sent back to their country of origin. But those countries of origin will not welcome these migrants back, Klaassen says. As a result, many will have to remain in detention which in turn amounts to a ‘violation of rules of EU law’. Klaassen is also concerned about problems arising at the centres – which country will intervene?

The deal is currently attracting much attention in other European countries that are facing the same large influx of migrants. It is expected that the reception centres in Albania will operational by spring.

More information

Read the full RTL news article (in Dutch)

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