Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Premier Giorgia Meloni, who agreed the Italy-Albania migrant centres deal.

Opening of Albania Migrant Centres postponed


Reports on Wednesday revealed the planned opening of Albania migrant centres, overseen by Italy, has been delayed from its scheduled date of May 20th.

This postponement stems from the Italian military engineers not yet completing their work.

The contract for managing the Albania migrant centres for a period of 24 months has been awarded to the Medihospes cooperative, with their bid totaling €133.8million. Italy aims to establish two migrant hotspots and a repatriation centre, with an annual expenditure close to €34million.

The agreement, inked by Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni and Albanian counterpart Edi Rama in Rome last November, outlines the reception and processing of up to 3,000 migrants and refugees rescued by Italian vessels each month. However, certain groups, including individuals with special needs and those rescued by NGO-operated ships or arriving directly on Italian shores, are excluded from this arrangement.

Since assuming office in autumn 2022, the Meloni government has sought cooperation from third countries to mitigate irregular sea migration to Italy, which surged by approximately 50% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Despite government assurances, the Italian opposition has decried the Albania deal, likening it to a new Guantanamo and alleging breaches of the Italian Constitution.

Criticism has also come from the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) and the Council of Europe. Nevertheless, some EU nations view the agreement as a potential model, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressing support for its approach.

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