Latest government figures say 60% of migrants crossing the Channel in the last year were from Albania
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has come under fire for her comments about tackling the “invasion” of migrants. The statement came after a migrant processing center in Dover had to be evacuated following a petrol bomb attack.
Migrants from Albania have come to the fore after Braverman referred to “Albanian criminals” when addressing parliament on Monday, October 31. Home Affairs Committee reports last week claim that “one to two per cent” of Albania’s entire male population has moved to the UK in the past year.
So where is Albania, is it part of the EU and why do people travel to the UK? Here’s everything you need to know.
Where is Albania?
Albania is located in southeastern Europe, with its west coast bordered by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The country is bordered by Montenegro to the north, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south, while Italy is only 50 miles away on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.
The country was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for five centuries before gaining independence in 1912. It was invaded by Italy at the start of World War II and later became a communist country in the Soviet Union, led by brutal dictator Enver Hoxha. . Albania regained its independence after the fall of communism in 1991, establishing a democracy.
The national language of Albania is Albanian, with Greek being the second most widely spoken language, while Albania’s most popular religion is Muslim, although the country is secular and has no religion of any country. official state.
Is Albania part of the EU?
Albania applied for membership of the European Union in April 2009 and since 2014 has been an official candidate for membership. Negotiations between the EU and Albania were opened in 2020 and are still ongoing.
What is the population of Albania?
The population of Albania is 2,870,500 according to Worldometers, with the population of the capital city Tirana estimated at 512,000.
Why do people leave Albania?
The Guardian has reported that the latest government figures claim that 60% of migrants crossing the Channel last year were from Albania, with MPs told that 12,000 people from the country have arrived in the UK this year so far. now, compared to just 50 in 2020.
Albanian outlet Exit News described the situation as “a perfect storm”, citing a number of factors pushing Albanians to leave for the UK, including “poverty and economic crisis, generational trauma, lack of national identity, problems with crime and politics” and “traffickers who exploit social networks to attract customers”.
In an interview with Bajram, 25, from Kukes, he explained his reasons for wanting to leave. Bajram said: “Many boys from Kukës have fled to England and say life is better there. Here in Kukes there is no future for the youngsters and no possibility to help the parents. I heard there are better wages and life in England.
People are also traveling to the UK from Albania to seek asylum, fearing that valid cases will be overlooked due to the current situation. Reported by the Huffington Post at the Conservative Party conference in October, Braverman said Albanians seeking asylum for trafficking are telling “lies”. are not modern slaves and their claims of trafficking are lies.”
What did Suella Braverman say about Albania?
Reported by the BBC, the Refugee Council called his remarks “appalling, wrong and dangerous”. In a statement, they said: “To describe the grave and complex situation created by the asylum crisis as an ‘invasion’ is appalling, wrong and dangerous. They are men, women and children fleeing war, persecution and conflict.
During a speech in Parliament on Monday, October 31, she made a direct reference to Albanian migrants, saying: “If labor was in charge, they would allow all Albanian criminals to come to this country, they would allow all small boats to come to the UK. , they would open our borders and totally undermine the confidence of the British people in controlling our sovereignty.
In response, Labor MP Zarah Sultana took to Twitter to call Braverman’s comments “disgusting”. The MP for Coventry South tweeted: “Disgusted to hear Suella Braverman say there is an ‘invasion on our south coast’, just a day after a migrant detention center was burned down. Language like that – depicting migrants as ‘invaders’ – stirs up hatred and spreads division She is utterly unfit to be Home Secretary.