Italy to set up migrant centres in Albania

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her Albanian counterpart Edi Rama have signed a deal aimed at reducing the number of refugees arriving in Italy. Under the agreement two reception centres managed by Italy will be set up in Albania and house up to 3,000 migrants rescued at sea. Refugees who arrive by land will not be sent there. Commentators examine the motives behind the pact.

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La Stampa (IT) /

All a big show

It is far from certain that Meloni's plan can actually be implemented, La Stampa notes:

“Now everyone will say Meloni was inspired by British Prime Minister Sunak, who wants to send the immigrants to Rwanda. But this is wishful thinking, because Sunak is encountering a number of difficulties in the practical implementation of his plan, starting with the appeals filed with the judiciary. ... Something similar could also happen to Meloni. But after the failure of the agreement with Tunisia, it was crucial for the Italian prime minister to take up the immigration issue again and find a solution. ... This move is aimed to impress, and it should be followed by a more detailed description of the projects and time frame, which have only been vaguely outlined so far.”

Avvenire (IT) /

A pact aimed at deterrence

Avvenire sees a paradox behind the agreement:

“The Meloni-Rama pact has a post-colonial undertone, like the British agreement with Rwanda, from which it seems to have drawn inspiration: a 'first world' country with strong political and economic resources shifts the burden of hosting unwelcome migrants on its territory to a less fortunate and more needy country. The paradoxical assumption is that countries with fewer resources and weaker institutions are deemed worthy of receiving the refugees we see as a problem. ... And the government has not hesitated to speak of a measure aimed at deterring those it insists on defining as illegal immigrants.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Albania is not doing this for free

Even if Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama has stated that he didn't seal the deal for financial reasons, he can count on other positive effects, Corriere della Sera surmises:

“Rama has much to gain from this agreement, in terms of image, foreign policy and economic policy. Italy is Tirana's leading trade partner. Its business with our companies accounts for twenty percent of its GDP. Jobs, paid services, investments in infrastructure and energy are at stake here. And there is also the fact that Meloni, who leads a G7 country with a stable government, has reportedly called on ministers to work at all levels to speed up Albania's accession to the EU.”