Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Tuesday that his country’s deal with the Albanian government to create migrant centers there is not comparable to a controversial agreement between the United Kingdom and the Rwanda.
“Migrants will benefit from exactly the same treatment as provided for by Italian and European regulations,” Tajani said, according to Italian news agency ANSA. “There is no outsourcing of the processing of asylum applications to a third country.”
The Foreign Minister also said that only migrants rescued at sea by Italian authorities would be transported to centers in Albania, and not those picked up by NGO ships or migrants disembarked on Italian soil. “It will not be possible to tow smugglers’ barges, nor to direct boats run by non-governmental organizations to Albania,” Tajani said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Guardian cited Italian authorities in reporting that a two-year-old girl had died and eight other people were missing after a boat carrying around 50 passengers sank across the Mediterranean off the coast of Lampedusa, an Italian island located just 113 km away. kilometers from Tunisia.
Despite Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s election promise to stop boat crossings from North Africa, more than 145,000 people have arrived in Italy by sea so far in 2023, compared with around 88,000 on the same period in 2022.
Earlier last week, the UK’s latest appeal court rejected the government’s challenge to an earlier finding that its flagship immigration policy – which aimed to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda to deter immigration Entry into Britain illegally – was illegal.