Italy-Albania deal to be ratified in parliament says Tajani

Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Tuesday that the government will present a bill in parliament to ratify the agreement it has reached with Tirana to set up migrant centres in Albania.

There had been some initial talk of there being no need for this international agreement to be approved by parliament, something that led opposition parties to cry foul.

“The government intends to quickly submit a ratification bill to Parliament that will also contain the rules and the funding allocations necessary for implementation of the protocol,” Tajani told the Lower House.

“Today’s debate (on the agreement) and the vote at the end of it demonstrate, if there were any need, that our government has never shied away from dialogue and parliamentary scrutiny, especially on issues of such importance”.

The minister said that two centres will be set up in Albania under the agreement and no more than 3,000 migrants will be held at them at the same time.

He reiterated that only migrants rescued at sea by the Italian authorities will be taken to the centres in Albania, so not those saved by NGO-run ships or people who land on Italian soil.

“It will not be possible to tow the barges of the smugglers, nor will it be possible to direct boats run by non-governmental organisations, to Albania,” he said.

The migrants will have exactly the same treatment as foreseen under Italian and European regulations”.

Tajani added that “this Protocol is not comparable with the agreement between the UK and Rwanda.

“There is no outsourcing of the processing of asylum applications to a third country,” he continued.

“And there is no derogation from internationally guaranteed rights, which are expressly reaffirmed several times in the Protocol.

“Soon Albania will join the European Union and it is part of the Council of Europe. Derogations would have been impossible”.