The latest report of the European Union confirmed that the issue of Albanian citizens applying for international protection in the EU member states and the other four non-EU Schengen countries still requires great efforts from the country’s authorities.
“In addition to information campaigns, careful border inspections, awareness of rights and obligations under the visa waiver regime, identification and treatment of underlying causes, dialogue and cooperation with the most affected countries has continued. UNHCR is closely monitoring the trend under the Post-Visa Liberalization Monitoring Mechanism,” he said. This was stated in the statement published by the European Commission.
According to the same report, the number of Albanian citizens who applied for international protection in EU member states saw a 66 percent decrease in 2020 compared to the figures for the same period one year ago, respectively from 20,415 registered in 2019 to 6,935. Registered in 2010, based on data provided by Eurostat and TheSchengen.com reports.
This decline was mainly caused by the coronavirus situation, which prompted the authorities in the majority of countries in the world to impose entry bans and travel restrictions in order to stem the increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. However, the report emphasized that it can also be seen that the average drop in orders from the rest of the world to EU countries is much smaller, or a 33 percent drop.
As for the recognition rate, it amounted to about 4.4 percent in 2020, compared to 5.3 percent recorded in 2019.
“Since requests peaked in 2017 in the worst-affected member state, the number of requests has decreased from 12,130 in 2017 to 2,985 in 2020. In addition, three Albanian police liaison officers have been deployed to the EU, and one EU liaison officer is serving in Tirana to help with exit checks,” confirmed the statement published by the European Union Commission.
With regard to the migration situation, the report stressed that the framework for action on migration is linked to the EU’s gains. However, it still needs to be updated, following recent developments. Albania’s government adopted a new law on asylum in February 2021, while strategies on border management were adopted in 2020.
“Despite the closing of the borders during the period from March to May 2020, Albania continued to face a growing influx of illegal immigrants, mostly from Greece and leaving Albania after a few days, on their way to other EU countries,” the statement read.
According to the report, the number of illegal immigrants in Albania reached 13 percent in 2020, compared to 2019 figures.