Italy’s Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni, revealed plans to construct two detention centers in Albania designed to accommodate migrants attempting to reach Italy by sea. This initiative is part of Italy’s efforts to control rising migration figures, which have surged since Meloni took office. The detention facilities are slated to open in the spring and will initially house 3,000 individuals. Once fully operational, the centers are expected to process up to 36,000 people each year.
Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party has faced mounting domestic pressure due to its inability to fulfill an electoral pledge to curb illegal immigration. The number of migrants reaching Italy’s shores has increased significantly, with over 145,000 arrivals since January, compared to 88,000 during the previous year.
During a joint press conference in Rome with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Meloni described the agreement as a “European accord” and an “innovative solution” aimed at stemming the rising number of Mediterranean Sea crossings from North Africa. She emphasized that mass irregular immigration is a challenge that EU member states cannot address on their own and that cooperation between EU countries and non-EU nations could play a decisive role.
Critics have voiced concerns about the human rights implications of the plan and the treatment of migrants sent to Albania. Human rights organizations have highlighted potential issues related to detention conditions, access to legal protections, and the safety of migrants in Albania.