Italy has announced plans to construct two detention centers in Albania in an effort to house migrants attempting to reach its shores. The Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni, revealed this development as migration figures have nearly doubled since she assumed office. Since the beginning of 2023, over 145,000 individuals have arrived on Italy’s shores.
Expected to open in the coming spring, these facilities will have an initial capacity to accommodate 3,000 people. However, the government aims to process up to 36,000 individuals annually through these centers. The primary objective behind this initiative is to control the rising number of sea crossings from North Africa.
Remarkably, this agreement marks the first instance of an EU member state outsourcing its asylum procedures to an aspiring member state. Under the arrangement, Albania will be responsible for providing security and surveillance services, while Italy will handle the application processing.
Moreover, this proposal potentially enables Italy to bypass the Dublin Agreement, which obliges the first country migrants arrive in to assume their care and responsibility. By moving its asylum procedures offshore, Italy hopes to manage the escalating migrant influx more efficiently.
This plan reflects Italy’s determination to address the challenges posed by irregular migration. The increasing numbers of migrants, coupled with the strain on Italy’s infrastructure, have driven the government to seek innovative solutions. Establishing these detention centers in Albania provides an opportunity to preemptively process asylum applications while simultaneously addressing the ethical and logistical concerns associated with managing a large influx of migrants.
Critics argue that this approach risks violating migrants’ rights and deflecting responsibility onto an aspiring EU member state. However, Meloni’s administration emphasizes the need to balance control of migration with respect for human rights. The government intends to ensure that the detention centers operate in compliance with international standards and that the asylum process is fair and transparent.
As the construction of these detention centers progresses, attention will be focused on their effectiveness in curbing irregular migration to Italy. With the number of migrants reaching Italy’s shores steadily increasing, the success of this innovative approach in managing the incoming flow is of paramount importance.
Ultimately, Italy’s decision to outsource its asylum procedures to Albania demonstrates the country’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by irregular migration. By seeking solutions beyond its own borders, Italy hopes to manage migration flows more efficiently, protect human rights, and alleviate the burden on its own resources.
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