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Italy and Albania Forge Historic Migration Management Pact

In a move hailed as 'historic', Italy is set to establish asylum centres in Albania, a plan that marks a novel approach to migration management for the nation and potentially the EU. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has detailed the strategy that underscores a memorandum of understanding with Albania, a pact that underlines the two nations' established ties, particularly in commerce and collaborative crime prevention.

The envisaged centres in Albania will have the capacity to house up to 3,000 individuals, specifically earmarked for those saved at sea by Italian vessels. The scheme materialised during the Ferragosto holiday, amidst reports of Meloni’s own stay in Albania, indicating active government engagement even during traditional downtime.

Despite scepticism and backlash from the Italian opposition, branding the deal as a ‘disarray’, the government has delineated that the centres will predominantly shelter those rescued at sea. Exceptions include minors, pregnant women, and the vulnerable, who will continue to be transferred to Italian soil for care.

Officials highlight this pact as unprecedented, with implications that reach beyond Italian borders, setting a potential precedent for the wider European Union. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has reciprocated the commitment, stating Albania’s readiness to aid, underscoring a non-judgemental stance on Italy’s political decisions.

This development is indicative of a more collective European approach to the challenges of migration, emphasizing shared responsibility over unilateral action. The centres are poised to aid a fraction of the 39,000 expected migrants within the next year, marking a significant, if partial, step in addressing the ongoing crisis.

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