As Exit had already reported, Minister of Interior Affairs Fatmir Xhafaj has offered the German government Albania as a potential host country for a holding and processing camp for African and Middle-Eastern immigrants seeking asylum in the EU.
Johann David Wadephul, deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU German parliamentary group, confirmed as much during an interview with Deutsche Welle’s Adelheid Feilcke. Referring to Xhafaj’s proposal to his German counterpart during their Berlin meeting, last Thursday, Wadephul said:
I view it as an interesting, though surprising, offer. I think it is a good proposal, it merits consideration. This offer should also be feasible. We know that Albania has been very welcoming during the Kosovo crisis. However, that was a different situation. It concerned Kosovar brothers and sisters who spoke the same language and had the same culture. This case would be different, however, as I said, this is a good sign, and it should be pursued.
[…] On the one hand, I think that the Albanian government’s offer is a serious one, and that confirms the existence of the legal and technical conditions needed for its realization in the country. However, on the other hand, the European Council must also massively support this initiative, not only financially, but also logistically. Both parties face a difficult task, however, it may become a joint effort. We are open to it, if it is something we can imagine. We see it as a positive proposal, and the European Council needs to discuss it with the Albanian government.
Exit was the first to report that Minister of Interior Affairs Fatmir Xhafaj would visit Germany to meet Horst Seehofer and would propose the opening of a immigrant camp in Albania.
This proposal of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s has not been discussed with any of the country’s institutions, neither with the President, nor with the parliament.
Many political and public voices have interpreted this offer as a move from Rama to gain the personal political support of the EU, under the conditions of the expected refusal to open accession negotiations, and constant criticism regarding the high levels of crime and corruption in the country. It has been pointed out that such an initiative could mean serious negative consequences for both Albania and the EU, seeing as the government’s failure to enforce the rule of law would do little to guarantee the immigrants’ and the country’s safety.
According to numerous international reports, Albania remains plagued by drug trafficking, human trafficking, and money laundering.
Meanwhile, the Albanian police currently finds itself in a difficult spot with its past involvement in drug trafficking; former Minister of Interior Affairs Saimir Tahiri, who served from 2013 to 2017, is currently being investigated by Albanian and Italian authorities for particiapting in international drug trafficking, numerous former high police officials are also being investigated for assisting drug traffickers, whereas current Interior Minister Xhafaj himself stands accused of having protected his brother, a convicted drug trafficker, who was hiding from his sentence in Albania until recently.