Albania is expected to approve a deal with Italy to process thousands of migrants’ claims for asylum

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, right, and his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama shake hands after the signing of a memorandum of understanding on migrant management centers during a meeting in Rome, Italy, Monday, November 6, 2023. Albania's Assembly votes on Thursday, February 22, 2024, and is expected to approve a deal with Italy under which thousands of migrants rescued at sea by Italian authorities would be sent to Albania while their applications for asylum in Italy are processed. [AP/Roberto Monaldo]

Albania's Parliament votes Thursday on a deal with Italy to hold thousands of migrants rescued in international waters by the Italian authorities while their asylum applications are processed.

Under the five-year deal, Albania would shelter up to 3,000 migrants at any one time. With asylum requests expected to take around a month to process, the number of asylum-seekers sent to Albania could reach up to 36,000 in a year.

Two processing centers will be set up in Albania at a cost to Italy of more than 600 million euros (about $650 million) over five years.

With Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama's left-wing Socialist Party holding 74 of Parliament's 140 seats, the deal is expected to pass. The president will also issue a decree as the final step of approval.

A group of 30 lawmakers attempted to block ratification by appealing to the Constitutional Court,...

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