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Italy’s Opposition Slams Migrant Centers Deal With Albania

Italy’s opposition parties slammed the agreement signed on Monday between Rome and Tirana for the creation of migrant centers in the Albanian territory under Italian jurisdiction, stressing that they would violate humanitarian rules.

The Democratic Party (PD)’s head Elly Schlein said in a radio interview on Tuesday that the agreement sealed by the right-wing government led by Premier Giorgia Meloni “seems an open breach of international and European laws.”

The center-left leader also invited Meloni to “convince her nationalist European allies to share the reception (of asylum seekers) and not leave Italy alone,” instead of trying to take migrants’ management offshore.

Under the agreement, signed by Meloni and Albanian Premier Edi Rama in Rome, up to 30,000 migrants a year, rescued at sea by the Italian authorities, would be transferred to Albania.

The deal would not apply to migrants saved by nongovernmental organization’s search-and-rescue ships or to minors, pregnant women and vulnerable people.

Italy will handle disembarkation and identification procedures and set up a first reception and screening center at the northwestern Albanian port of Shengjin, while in the area of Gjader, it will set up a detention and repatriation center for the subsequent procedures.

The head of Italian pro-EU party +Europa, Riccardo Magi, said the new centers in Albania risk becoming “a sort of Italian Guantanamo,” referring to the US military base which became an international symbol of torture, rendition and indefinite detention.

“It would be against international standards and outside the EU, giving nobody the possibility to check the conditions of people detained there,” Magi added.

The European Commission on Tuesday requested additional information about the details of the agreement between Rome and Tirana.

“We are in contact with the Italian authorities. We have asked to receive details of the migration agreement with Albania,” commission spokeswoman Anitta Hipper said.

“Before commenting further, we need to understand what exactly the intention is,” she added. ​​​​​​​

The Italian premier on Tuesday praised the agreement, saying it could become “a model of cooperation between the EU and non-EU countries on managing migratory flows.”

Source : AA