‘Come to Germany and learn’: Albanian PM criticises UK’s immigration stance

Edi Rama tells press conference in Berlin that UK rhetoric sounds like ‘screams from a madhouse’

The UK government should look to Germany to learn how to cope with a wave of immigrants, the Albanian prime minister has said, as he criticised its depiction of his countrymen as criminals.

“I have never heard any German politician or government minister talk about an ‘invasion’ and I never heard any minister or interior minister here talking about being criminals,” Edi Rama said at a press conference marking the end of a summit in Berlin. “Instead of fuelling the crazy narrative of invaders and gangsters to cover up for totally failed policies on borders and crime, the British representatives need to come to Germany and learn quickly.

“To single out a community and to talk about gangsters and about criminals doesn’t sound very British, it sounds more like screams from a madhouse,” Rama said.

His intervention follows a series of comments by UK ministers and officials claiming that Albanians were behind a recent flurry of arrivals by small boats across the Channel and that many of them were involved in or the victims of organised crime.

However, Tirana has expressed frustration at the failure of the UK government to implement an agreement on fast-track deportations of Albanians arriving illegally in the UK via a third safe country. The lack of progress on the agreement is in contrast with similar deals Albania has signed with France and Germany.

Meanwhile Suella Braverman’s plans to set up more Rwanda-style deals with other countries received a blow on Thursday after the governments of three South and Central American countries denied reports that they had been in talks with the UK.

Although the prime minister’s spokesperson refused to rule out sending asylum seekers to Paraguay, Belize and Peru for processing, all three governments questioned whether such a deal would be within international law.

The denials follow a report in the Daily Express claiming that Braverman was in advanced talks with Paraguay while Peru and Belize were “possibly in line” for deals.

Paraguay’s embassy in London said: “There were never talks and conversations ongoing regarding this topic,” adding: “There is no deal or agreement from the Paraguayan government with the United Kingdom to receive migrants.”

Belize’s foreign affairs minister, Eamon Courtenay, denied reports that his country was working with the UK to accept migrants, saying such plans would be “inhumane”.

“Belize is not in negotiations with the UK or any other country to accept migrants. We will not agree to accept exported migrants. That is inhumane and contrary to international law,” he tweeted.

A spokesperson for the Peruvian embassy said the claim was “unsubstantiated”. “Peru renews its commitment to the international treaties on human rights and respect for immigrants,” the spokesperson added.

The Express had reported that the Home Office was in talks with a number of nations on deportation deals.

The newspaper claimed that Braverman was pushing talks for alternatives to the stalled Rwanda plan with Paraguay, Peru, Belize and an African country.

Asked on Thursday about the report, the prime minister’s spokesperson did not deny the government was trying to strike Rwanda-style deals with Belize, Peru and Paraguay.

“We do plan to negotiate similar deals with other countries, akin to the Rwanda partnership, but it’s not helpful for us to comment on speculation around potential discussions,” she added.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our world-leading migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda will help break the business model of criminal people-smuggling gangs and save lives.

“We’ve always been clear we are committed to working with a range of international partners to tackle the global migration crisis.”


Rajeev Syal

The GuardianTramp

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