Migrants, Albanian court approves agreement with Italy
Vita gazette – The Albanian Constitutional Court validates the Italy-Albania agreement on migrants. It also gave the green light to the treaty with Italy on migrants, rejecting the constitutional appeal presented by the PD deputies to the Albanian opposition.
The Constitutional Court of Albania has approved Italy’s and its government’s project to create two reception centres for some migrants in the country. Five of the nine justices voted in favour Monday, four against.
The Albanian Parliament is now expected to vote in favour since the party of Social Democratic Prime Minister Edi Rama has the majority. The Italian Chamber of Deputies has already approved it, but the text still needs to be ratified by the Senate.
Italy will manage the centres, which are planned for the Adriatic port of Shengjin and a former military base in Gjader and can accommodate around 3,000 people simultaneously. Albania will monitor the centres.
The past of the event
The provision concerns migrants who are taken on board by the competent authorities on the high seas and headed to Italy. Rama and his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, signed a memorandum of understanding on the issue just over two months ago.
The court examined whether the deal violates Albania’s Constitution by potentially ceding territory for the processing of migrants, with the initial reception of around 3,000 people and the prospect of up to 36,000 a year.
The agreement, announced in November by Italian Prime Minister Meloni, says the plan is necessary to reduce sea arrivals in Italy, which increased by 50% last year compared to almost 104,000 in 2022.
According to the agreement, criticised by human rights groups but tacitly approved by the EU, the people rescued by Italian boats would be assigned to Albania. Minors, pregnant women and vulnerable people would be taken to Italy.
In December, the Albanian Parliament was forced to stop ratifying the pact on migrants with Italy after the Supreme Court approved an opposition request to examine the agreement’s constitutionality.
A court in Albania had started a hearing to determine whether a deal with the Italian government would violate the Constitution by allowing the use of Albanian territory as reception centres for people seeking to enter the EU by sea.