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Is Albania enough to stop the rivers of migration flowing to the West?

by Ayfer Selamoğlu

Albania’s constitutional court is set to rule on a controversial migration deal made with Italy to utilize non-EU member Albanian territory to establish reception centers for individuals attempting to enter the European Union via the sea route.

The court will examine if the arrangement violates Albania’s Constitution by potentially ceding territory for migrant processing, with the initial hosting of around 3,000 people and the prospect of up to 36,000 annually.

The agreement, announced in November by Italian Prime Minister Meloni, said that the plan is necessary to reduce arrivals by sea to Italy, which increased by 50% last year from nearly 104,000 in 2022.

Under the deal, criticized by human rights groups but tacitly endorsed by the EU, those allocated to Albania would be people rescued by Italian boats. Minors, pregnant women, and vulnerable individuals would be taken to Italy.

In mid-December, the Albanian Parliament was forced to halt the ratification process of the migrant pact with Italy after the top court approved an opposition request to examine the deal’s constitutionality.

A court in Albania has begun a hearing on whether a deal with Italy’s government would violate the Constitution by allowing Albanian territory to be used for reception centers for people seeking to enter the EU by sea. The judge will determine whether the agreement criticized by human rights groups violates the Constitution. The judges in the closed-door hearing have until 6 March to rule, but their decision could be issued well before the deadline.

These events are just one dimension of the migration problem, which has turned into a raging flood with wars and worsening living conditions…

During meetings between immigration experts and parliamentarians in the Italian parliament, some scholars have pointed out how ensuring the same standard of asylum rights in a foreign country is practically impossible. Critics suggest Tirana would have to cede a portion of its territory to Rome.

These are also the legal aspects…

The international humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, says the deal goes “one step beyond” previous agreements between EU countries and non-member states such as Turkey, Libya, and Tunisia. “The aim is no longer only to discourage departures, but to actively prevent people from fleeing and those rescued at sea from gaining safe and rapid access to European territory,” it said in a statement.

 “The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Italy and Albania raises several human rights concerns and adds to a worrying European trend towards the externalization of asylum responsibilities,” said the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, Dunia Mijatović. “It is indicative of a wider drive by Council of Europe member states to pursue various models of externalizing asylum as a potential ‘quick fix’ to the complex challenges posed by the arrival of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.”

Dunja Mijatović has warned that it could set a dangerous precedent. She said: “The shifting of responsibility across borders by some states also incentivizes others to do the same, which risks creating a domino effect that could undermine the European and global system of international protection.”

More than 2,500 people died or went missing in 2023 while attempting to cross the central Mediterranean from North Africa to reach Europe.

The above agreements and discussions are about the flowing rivers of enthusiastic migration and the limited lands that meet them…

Let’s take a breath here and think…

Is one Albania enough to stop the enthusiastic floods flowing from the Greater Middle East Geography to the West?

Is it sufficient to sustain migration in its territory?

 So, do these agreements or discussions have any meaning in solving the problem?

Of course not. All of these are temporary solutions, including the human rights dimension.

This flood of migration cannot be stopped as long as wars, poverty, lack of education, and poor living conditions continue in the Greater Middle East geography, which has been transformed into an arena of power and interest…

How does it stop?

When we invest in people and societies, not in wars and weapons…

When we concentrate on education, not enslavement, on economic development, not exploitation…

When we start to think that unwanted immigrants also have the right to a quality life as human beings…

Otherwise, the whole world will have to accept a new state.

And this state will be the largest in the world…

Its name is the: “Independent Republic of Immigrants.”

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