Albanian Parliament approves controversial deal to hold migrants for Italy

Lawmakers of the Democratic Party look on as their colleagues of the ruling Socialist party vote in Tirana, Thursday. Albania's Parliament on Thursday approved a deal for the country to hold thousands of migrants rescued in international waters by Italy while their asylum applications are processed, despite protests from opposition lawmakers and human rights groups. [AP]

Albania's Parliament voted Thursday to approve a deal for the country to hold thousands of asylum seekers for Italy, despite protests from opposition lawmakers and human rights groups.

Under the five-year deal, Albania would shelter up to 3,000 migrants rescued from international waters 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.

Albania is not a European Union member, and the idea of sending asylum seekers outside the bloc is controversial. The deal was endorsed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as an example of out-of-the-box thinking, but has been widely criticized by rights groups.

The agreement, signed in November between Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, is part of Meloni's efforts to...

Continue reading on: