Reports: Albania under pressure to take Europe’s unwanted migrants

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 11, 2018 10:27

Reports: Albania under pressure to take Europe’s unwanted migrants

Story Highlights

  • In a joint press conference after his meeting with Kurz in Austria on May 30, Rama said that “we are ready to offer all our capacities to ensure border safety on the one hand and a dignified treatment of human beings on the other in this cooperation. In this respect, I repeat what the Chancellor said, that I am sure we have all possibilities and the right plan to prevent a similar situation as in 2015, which was dramatic for us all.”

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TIRANA, June 10 – Prime Minister Edi Rama offered Albania as hosting ground for Europe’s Middle East and African immigrants in context of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s plans to find a solution for those the EU refuses within its borders, a growing number of local and international media has alleged through the week.

This was allegedly offered during Rama’s visit in Austria two weeks ago to meet Chancellor Kruz with whom he talked to, among other things, for the problems Albania is recently facing with an increasing number of refugees passing through the country, heading to EU member states.

Asked about the project, so far supported by Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark  in principle, Kurz has said that “we have long suggested to provide protection to immigrants outside the EU, in a place where they can be protected but unable to decide on their destination.”

According to Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen countries that successfully meet the criteria for this plan “should not be in the list of choice for immigrants of human traffickers, so they should be unappealing for traffickers.”

Based on these statements, independent observers have speculated the only options are the six Western Balkan countries, also based on their geographical location – Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.

Rama’s offer to use Albania for this exact purpose has been considered by a number of local media to be a political maneuver aiming to ensure EU support as the country awaits the opening of accession negotiations, while Rama has lately been facing a growing number of allegations for strong ties with organized crime.

In a joint press conference after his meeting with Kurz in Austria on May 30, Rama said that “we are ready to offer all our capacities to ensure border safety on the one hand and a digniful treatment of human beings on the other in this cooperation. In this respect, I repeat what the Chancellor said, that I am sure we have all possibilities and the right plan to prevent a similar situation as in 2015, which was dramatic for us all.”

While in Austria, Rama also said the number of illegal immigrants in Albania during January-May 2018 reached a record of 2,311 people, compared to 162 illegal immigrants this period last year.

Rama’s primary reason for visiting Austria, in this context, was to address the increasing flux of illegal immigrants who enter the country from Greece with the purpose of reaching EU member states.

Local media, however, wrote that Rama’s numbers are exaggerated, as according to the International Organization for Migration, the official institution responsible of collecting immigration data, only 1,180 immigrants were registered in Albania so far this year.

Although there are no official statements to factually back this allegation made by opposition-friendly media yet, Rama has previously followed similar tactics by voluntarily offering to disassemble Syrian chemical weapons – a project that never saw the light of day due to popular disapproval – and by hosting around 3,000 Iranian Mujahideen fighters who were left threatened when the US government withdrew from Iraq.

The Iranian Mujahideen are considered terrorists by a number of countries, a big amount of them are currently living in Durres, after Rama’s suggestion to host them was successful.

So far, the Deputy Minister for Interior Rovena Doda has said there has been no request from EU member states or the EU Commission to build a refugee camp in Albania.

“There has been absolutely no request from any EU member state or from the European Commission to build a camp in Albania to host foreign refugees. In Tirana we have an asylum center, which is not a camp, but an institution based on the EU system,” Voda said.

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 11, 2018 10:27