(Bloomberg) -- Albania’s opposition challenged an asylum agreement announced last month between Prime Minister Edi Rama and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, citing a potential breach of the nation’s sovereignty.
Under the agreement, which is being debated in parliamentary committees in Tirana, Albania is expected to host refugees rescued at sea by Italian vessels in two centers able hold as many as 3,000 people. The asylum seekers would remain in Albania until their requests are processed or until they are repatriated.
Two opposition groups asked the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to halt parliamentary ratification of the agreement, arguing it breaches the Albanian constitution. The groups said the deal potentially violates the country’s sovereignty, since processing centers on Albanian territory would be overseen by Italian authorities.
Read More: Meloni Says Italy Will Finance Deal to Send Migrants to Albania
Meloni touted the deal, which was widely criticized by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and prompted resistance from locals near the centers, as a model for other European Union nations.
A vote in the Albanian parliament is scheduled for Dec. 22, with the agreement set to come into force by March 2024.
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