An agreement to keep migrants in Albania while they wait for their asylum applications to be processed by Italy is “unacceptable” and “incompatible with the law”, Spanish Socialist MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar told Euractiv.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama signed an agreement agreement Monday, November 6, to bring people rescued from the Mediterranean by Italian-flagged ships to Albania to process their asylum applications. Italy would control the entire process and have sovereignty in Albania with individuals leaving the country if approved or denied.
“We need to know more to be able to assess it properly. However, this again seems like a misstep in the wrong direction. If that’s what it seems, it’s unacceptable. This appears to be an outsourcing not only of the EU’s external borders, but also a worrying outsourcing of the asylum procedures themselves,” Aguilar told Euractiv at the Party of European Socialists (PES) congress in Malaga over the weekend. last last.
Rama is a member of the PES and the agreement with Meloni has created tensions within the European socialist family.
Before the start of the congress, the Italian Democratic Party tried to put a discussion on the agreement on the table, different Democratic Party sources told Euractiv.
“Trying to help Italy in this situation, where no one in Europe seems to have a solution that everyone can agree on, is perhaps not the best thing, but it is certainly the least that Albania can and must do,” Rama wrote on X (ex-Twitter), a few days after signing the agreement.
“Italy and Albania sign today an important memorandum of understanding aimed at combating human trafficking and preventing irregular migratory flows,” said Meloni on the day of the transaction.
According to the president of the socialist group in the European Parliament Iratxe García Pérez, it is “too early” to make a concrete decision, she told journalists at the congress.
However, Aguilar strongly commented on the agreement, adding that it is “absolutely incompatible not only with the legislation currently in force, but also with the legislation that we are considering putting in place”, he stressed, referring to international law and legislative laws. files on migration – the so-called Migration Pact – which the EU is trying to approve before the European elections next June in order to create a European framework for managing migration.
Aguilar chairs the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee and is rapporteur on the crisis management regulation, one of the key issues of the migration pact.
The Italy-Albania deal is particularly problematic according to the socialist MEP, as the Balkan country is not bound by EU law because it is not an EU member state but is a candidate country upon membership.
“We only hope to put an end to this sequence of wrongdoing, by finally putting in place a European-wide migration and asylum pact as a response to the migration situation,” Aguilar concluded.
The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, also expressed concerns about the agreement: “The agreement between Italy and Albania on migration creates an extraterritorial asylum regime ad hoc characterized by numerous legal ambiguities,” he said in a statement. Press release published Monday (November 13).
“In practice, the lack of legal certainty risks undermining crucial human rights guarantees and accountability for violations, leading to differential treatment between those whose asylum claims will be examined in Albania and those for whom this will be done in Italy,” she added.
(Edited by Benjamin Fox/Nathalie Weatherald)