Italy and Albania have entered into an agreement to establish migrant reception centers in Albania. The Italian lower house of parliament has approved the agreement, which will see Italy building two migrant reception centers in Albania to process asylum applications of migrants rescued at sea by Italian authorities.
The bill was approved with 155 votes in favor, 115 against, and two abstentions. While the majority welcomed the agreement, some members of parliament expressed concerns about potential violations of human rights laws and the cost of the project. The two centers in Albania are expected to accommodate around 3,000 rescued migrants and will cost Italy an estimated €675 million.
The first center will be used to identify migrants, while the second, smaller center will be built in Shengjin port. Italy will make payments for the centers over several years, starting with €142 million this year and continuing until 2029.
The Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, previously stated that the two centers would have the capacity to host up to 36,000 people and process all applications within a year. However, the new migration decree has extended the time limit for assessing asylum applications to 18 months, reducing the centers’ yearly capacity.
The Italian government has clarified that migrants granted international protection will be transported to Italy, while those whose applications are rejected will be deported to their home countries. Vulnerable migrants, such as pregnant women, unaccompanied minors, and disabled individuals, will not be sent to the centers in Albania and will have their cases assessed in Italy.
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