WG II (Chapter 24): Addressing Migration in EU and Albania, 21 July 2021

On July 21, 2021 European Movement in Albania (EMA) and National Chamber of Advocates, in partnership with the Slovak Foreign Policy Association and the financial support of Slovak Aid, organized  Session 3 under the Working Group II (Justice, Freedom, Security) of the National Convention on European Integration 2019-2021. The topic was  “Addressing Migration in EU and Albania”.

Gledis Gjipali, Executive Director, European Movement Albania moderated the session and introduced the daily agenda.

Dr. Denard Veshi from University College “Bedër” discussed about migration in the EU and the harmonization of the Albanian legislation with the EU Law. He explained that the “right to asylum” is an “empty right” because the refugees can seek asylum but the states do not have an obligation to keep asylum protection. Member states must protect people qualified under subsidiary protection. According to him migrants can be divided into two categories: economic migrants and protected migrant (refugee). Veshi also talked about the costs that impact on the choice to flee or to stay and in the choice to become undocumented migrant or refugee. Several empirical studies in USA and EU show that immigrants don’t have a negative impact on the wage or on the opportunity to find a job for local citizens. On the other hand, irregular migrants in fields where qualification is not needed, do impact the wage and opportunities for local citizens. Undocumented migrants are usually considered a threat to national security. The European asylum law is divided into four different directives and two regulations. The Albanian law includes four directives and a fifth one about family reunification. Moreover, Veshi provided a comparison between the EU legislation and the Albanian one. Albania has only recognized the international and EU protections (refugee and subsidiary protection) but there isn’t an Albanian law that provides protection to refugees by giving a third protection similar to the Slovak case. From May 2016 EU is trying to pass Dublin four which been criticized by the European parliament. In conclusion, Veshi explained that individuals have two choices:

  1. Stay or leave (mutually exclusive):
  2. Undocumented migrant or refugee (not mutually exclusive)

Regarding the Albanian law of February 2020, it is quite harmonized with the European law, however if there are the parts that there is a lack it can be taken through systematic interpretation from the Albanian Administrative Proceeding Code.

Jan Orlovsky, Head of the Migration Office of the Slovak Republic stated that Slovakia does not really belong among the countries who suffer from strong waves of migration. One reason is because Slovakia is off the beaten path of Balkan route and Mediterranean route, the second reason is that Hungary has a very strongly protected border so the only opened Schengen border is the one with Ukraine. The country is in a sheltered position which has nothing to contribute in

Terms of burden sharing or in terms of assistance however the political spectrum as well as people’s opinion is very low on actually diversity and cultural differences.

The state and the society are skeptic and look at migrants as a threat. Orlovsky provided an overview of the situation in 2020 indicating that from 282 asylum seekers only 11 asylums were granted. Furthermore, he provided a comparative table between 2008 and 2017 when it comes to social distancing of the majority from minorities. Orlovsky also talked about the recovery and Resilience Plan 2021 which it’s more or less a loan from the EU which should be paid off later.

Nearly 6 billion € for 18 components resting on 3 pillars:

  • innovative economy,
  • modern administration,
  • healthy country,

Even though the Slovak businesses are calling for foreigners to come in the ministry of labor actually blocks the process because the political leadership believes that first should employ all the Slovaks and only then invite foreigners.