Stop blaming us for your migrant crisis, Albania’s Prime Minister tells Suella Braverman

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (PA) (PA Wire)
Home Secretary Suella Braverman (PA) (PA Wire)

Albania has demanded the British government stop “discriminating" against Albanians to "excuse policy failures" during the migration crisis.

Albanian prime minister Edi Rama called for "mutual respect" on Wednesday as he hit out at the "insane" and "easy rhetoric" of targeting his citizens for UK border failures.

Suella Braverman, the beleaguered Home Secretary, has frequently singled out Albanian asylum seekers after their numbers crossing the Channel in small boats increased.

She has also been considering negotiating a “bespoke route" with the nation to get failed Albanian asylum seekers removed from the UK quicker.

Mr Rama tweeted: “Targeting Albanians (as some shamefully did when fighting for Brexit) as the cause of Britain’s crime and border problems makes for easy rhetoric but ignores hard fact.

“Repeating the same things and expecting different results is insane (ask Einstein!)."

Mr Rama argued that 70% of the 140,000 Albanians who have moved to the UK were living in Italy and Greece, and that Albanians in the UK “work hard and pay tax".

He said the UK should “fight the crime gangs of all nationalities and stop discriminating" against "Albanians to excuse policy failures".

“Albania is not a rich country and was for a very long time a victim of empires, we never had our own," Mr Rama continued.

“We have a duty to fight crime at home and are doing so resolutely, as cooperating closely with others too. Ready to work closer with UK but facts are crucial. So is mutual respect.”

His remarks were a blow to Braverman’s hopes of agreeing a deal with the Balkan country that would enable Albanian migrants who cross the Channel in small boats to be deported within days of arrival.

Taking questions from MPs in the House of Commons on Monday, Ms Braverman claimed there had been a surge in Albanian arrivals “abusing our modern slavery laws".

She was hit with a backlash after describing the number of small boat crossings as an “invasion” of England’s south coast.

Ms Braverman agreed with Tory backbencher Lee Anderson who brought up "Albanian criminals" and suggested those who dislike UK accommodation "can get on a dinghy and go straight back to France".

Last week, MPs were told that 12,000 Albanians had arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year, compared to 50 in 2020.

Ms Braverman has been facing criticism for the severe overcrowding and poor conditions at the Manston migrant processing facility in Kent and a failure to tackle Channel crossings.

The problems have added to her woes as she continues to face scrutiny over the security breach that saw her lose her job under Liz Truss, before she was reinstated by Rishi Sunak.