Friday, April 1, 2016

Albania will protect its external borders


By Ilir Meta / The refugee current crisis is a problem that affects all of Europe, so it requires a pan-European approach and a full coordination.

Its solution must be an absolute priority for all of Europe, because its potentially destabilizing consequences could be incalculable.

For this reason, even Albania is ready to contribute with what it can. Every state has the right to control its borders and decide on whether to admit asylum seekers or economic migrants. But every state has the obligation to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need.

The current crisis will last as long as there will be violence in their countries of origin. When violence ceases, the phase of reconstruction of these countries will begin. If the country of migration will be far away from their home country, their possibility of return will be lower.

This is another reason to reflect, because such massive waves of uncontrolled migration because of war, bring negative consequences in the long term. The risk to have among them terrorists who enter Europe is real. The recent events in Paris and Brussels have proved this.

Albania has deep understanding of what is happening, because of our experience in the '90 or during the Balkan crisis. Over a million Albanians fled from Albania and began a new life in European countries. We welcomed Kosovars during the war in 1998.

But modern-day Europe is no longer the same. Today nationalist currents are becoming more and more powerful, with countries often taking decisions at the expense of refugees. Meanwhile, these people are at a crossroads and are leaving their countries because of the terrible circumstances. Humanism and solidarity in Europe must be stronger than fear.

Over the past year, more than a million refugees left their countries and arrived in the EU via Greece. This number exceeds the capacities and resources of the countries of transit, particularly those countries that are not yet members of the EU.

And we should be clear that as long as corridors through the Balkans remain blocked, they may soon be targeted by other means, to attempt passage through Albania to the north or crossing the Adriatic to Italy. They are already near our borders.

As a European country, Albania will assume its responsibility towards its citizens as well as the EU, as will provide assistance to people in need. In cooperation with the EU and with our neighbors we will take preventive measures to cope with such a situation. Meanwhile, Albania will act proactively to avoid an uncontrolled migration flow.

We are working with our partners to strengthen our capacity for border control. But we will not build walls. We must also take measures against the real risk of terrorist infiltration.

Meanwhile we are taking steps to strengthen the capacity for registration and a more complete verification of those who may enter our country. For this, it is necessary to have a better exchange of information and cooperation of law enforcement agencies, as well as a broader support from the EU.

Any transit country affected by migratory flows must be able to verify that all persons who appear as Asylum seekers from war countries are really who they claim to be. We must be able to ensure that these persons have no connection with terrorist groups and this requires a quick exchange of bio-metric data in the EU countries.

This great humanitarian crisis that is getting worse every day more and more can be resolved only with the active participation of the great powers. It belongs to the US to take a leading role in the international efforts for a solid and long-term solution of conflicts in countries in crisis.

Meanwhile, the European Union must work with determination, so that refugees in Greece and Turkey can stay in humane conditions. Desperate people, react with despair. There may be cases of outbreak of violence if large groups of migrants are found trapped and hopeless. And this is happening.

Therefore it is very important for those people who seek asylum, to be admitted to a place closer to their country of origin. This will increase the chance of an immediate return to their countries as soon as situation changes. For this reason we welcome in particular the newly completed agreement between the EU and Turkey.

The Balkan countries have common strategic interests and should cooperate to cope with this crisis through a constructive approach. For us in the Balkans, it is very important that the US maintains its presence as a decisive factor for security and stability in the entire region. But the European Union should not stop the process of expansion due to the current challenges.

We consider that we, as candidate countries must find a Europe-wide solution to these problems and we are determined to do everything possible so that this humanitarian crisis does not become a threat to our common security. /

No comments: