Transformation of the Balkan Routes: the role of Albania during and after the global Covid-19 pandemic

Author/s Shkelzen Hasanaj
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/130 Language Italian
Pages 16 P. 108-123 File size 236 KB
DOI 10.3280/SR2023-130006
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Over the last decade, the importance of the so­called Western Balkan route as a way of irregular access to the European Union has increased significantly, and in this context the importance of Albania as a transit country has increased, as well as settlement to a lesser extent. In this article, after tracing the recent history of the Balkan route, we will describe the main dynamics that lead many migrants to use this path for as an alternative route passing through Albania, rather than other countries of hypothetical sojourn. One of the purposes of this study is to demonstrate how aside from the peak situations in the number of transits in 2015 or the decrease in 2018-2019, there is a more general trend towards a growing number of migrants using this route. With regard to this situation, in particular, the role of Albanian society and institutions and the consequences are analyzed. Although, apparently, Albania is only marginally affected by the Western Balkans route, our aim will be to show that it has already produced sig- nificant and lasting effects, in conjunction with those produced by the two­year health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic The prospects of access to the European Union, international instability and the possibility of new fac- tors pushing migration linked to climate change or new zoonotic diseases point to the need for a change in perspective by Albanian and European authorities on the issue of flow management of migrants passing through Albania.

  1. Ahc (2020), Raport Monitorimi – Mbi Tëdrejtat dhe Liritëe Emigrantëve, Azilkërkuesve dhe Refugjatëve Nëshqipëri, -- mi_Mbi­te­drejtat­dhe­lirite­e­emigranteve­azilkerkuesve­dhe­refugjateve­ne­Shqiperi_ compressed.pdf.
  2. Amnesty International (2021), UE: l’anniversario dell’accordo con la Turchia mette in guar- dia da altri pericolosi patti in materia d’immigrazione, 15 marzo, ue-lanniversario-dellaccordo-con-la-turchia-mette-in-guardia-da-altri-pericolosi-patti-in- materia-dimmigrazione/.
  3. Balkan Insight (2015), Slovenia Starts Building Fence on Croatia Border, --
  4. Brmc (Balkan Refugee and Migration Council) (2020), Common Western Balkan Migration Policy: Borders and Returns. Regional Policy Paper II, -- content/uploads/2020/11/BRMC-Policy-Paper-II-grupa-484.pdf.
  5. Cnbc (2015), Macedonian army starts building fence on Greek border, --­army­starts­building­fence­on­greek­border.html.
  6. Commissione europea (2021), Piano d’azione rinnovato dell’UE contro il traffico di migranti (2021-2025), -- 0591&qid=1634481438388.
  7. Commissione europea (2022), Press statement by President von der Leyen with Prime Minister Fiala, Prime Minister Rama and Prime Minister Kovachevski on the start of the accession negotiations process and of the screening of the EU acquis, -- https://neighbourhood-enlar-­statement­president­von­der­leyen­prime­minister­fiala­ prime­minister­rama­and­prime­minister­2022­07­19_en.
  8. Consiglio dei Ministri albanese (2020), Vendimi i Këshillit të Ministrave «Për shpalljen e gjendjes së fatkeqësisë natyrore», VKM­nr.­243­date­24.3.2020.docx..pdf.
  9. Consiglio europeo (2016), Dichiarazione UE-Turchia, 18 marzo 2016, comunicato stampa,
  10. 18 marzo 2016. --­statement/.
  11. E. Dhëmbo, E. Çaro, J. Hoxha (2021), «“Our migrant” and “the other migrant”: migration discourse in the Albanian media, 2015-2018», Humanities and Social Sciences Communi- cations, 8, 137,
  12. C. Dumbrava (2022), Walls and fences at EU borders, European Parliamentary Research Service Briefing, October 13, EPRS_BRI(2022)733692_EN.pdf.
  13. F. Düvell (2014), Transit Migrations in the European Migration Spaces: Politics, Determinants and Dynamics, in F. Düvell, I. Molodikova, M. Collyer (eds.), Transit Migration in Europe, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.
  14. Euronews (2019), Mini zona Schengen per i Balcani occidentali (ma non per tutti), https:// Euronews (2020), Accordo Serbia-Kosovo e ambasciate di Belgrado e Pristina a Gerusalem- me: doppio successo per Trump, vo-e-ambasciate-di-belgrado-e-pristina-a-gerusalemme-successo-per-trump.­serbia­koso-
  15. B. Frelick, I.M. Kysel, J. Podkul (2018), «The Impact of Externalization of Migration Controls on the Rights of Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants», Journal on Migration and Human Security, 4, 4, pp. 190-220.
  16. Euro-Med Monitor (2020), Albania Should End Refugees’ Suffering of Hunger and Violence,
  17. Frontex (2010), Extract from the Annual Risk Analysis 2010, --
  18. Frontex (2012), Western Balkans Annual Risk Analysis 2012,
  19. Frontex (2015), Annual Risk Analysis 2015, Analysis/WB_ARA_2015.pdf.
  20. Frontex (2019a), Risk Analysis for 2019, Analysis/Risk_Analysis/Risk_Analysis_for_2019.pdf.
  21. Statewatch (2019), EU: Ministerial statement on «migration challenges» keeps focus on con- trol measures, -- migration­challenges­keeps­focus­on­control­measures/.
  22. The Wall Street Journal (2015a), «Hungary Completes Croatia Border Fence to Keep Migrants Out», October 15, -- to­keep­migrants­out­1444927774.
  23. The Wall Street Journal (2015b), «Austria to Build Fence on Slovenia Border to Slow Flow of Migrants», October 28, border­to­slow­flow­of­migrants­1446024586.
  24. United Nations (2020), UN Albania Covid-19 Socio-economic Recovery & Response plan, 8/7/2020, --­08/ALB_Socioeconomic­Response­ Plan-2020.pdf.
  25. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2022), World Population Prospects: The 2022 Revision, custom data acquired via website, -- https://
  26. Unhcr (2015), Over one million sea arrivals reach Europe in 2015, https://www.unhcr. org/5683d0b56.html.
  27. Unhcr (2019), Albania Fact Sheet, January, -- tes/57/2019/03/Fact-Sheet-UNHCR-Albania-Updated-31-January-2019.pdf.
  28. Unhcr (2022), Türkiye Fact Sheet, September, --­factsheet­September­2022.pdf.
  29. Unicef (2021), The Impact of Covid-19 on Access of Vulnerable Children, Families and Com- munities to Social Protection in Albania, The_Impact_Of_Covid_19.pdf.
  30. J. Vullnetari (2012), Albania on the Move: Links between Internal and International Migration, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.
  31. WB (2021), Western Balkans Regular Economic Report No. 19, Spring, https://openknowled-­9a11­5d1b­9d70­5adea226e601/download.
  32. WB (2022a), Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, 21, Spring, -- tachments/c53d2bd4-d9e2-3b78-ad1e-947c48b2a33a/EN.pdf.
  33. WB (2022b), Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, 22, Fall, -- https://documents1. 4560691ca.pdf.
  34. L. Zanfrini (2010), «I “confini” della cittadinanza: perché l’immigrazione disturba», Sociologia del Lavoro, 117, pp. 40-56.
  35. L. Zanfrini (2016), Introduzione alla sociologia delle migrazioni, Bari, Laterza.
  36. M. Sozzi (2021), 2020-2021: il Covid-19 non ferma le guerre e mette in fuga ancora più perso- ne nel mondo, in Il diritto d’asilo. Report 2021, Todi, Tau editrice.
  37. Parlamento europeo (2022), Impact of Covid-19 on asylum procedures in EU Member Sta- tes, -- -- 733629_EN.pdf.
  38. A. Papadopoulou­Kourkoula (2008), Transit Migration. The Missing Link between Emigration and Settlement, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
  39. Oecd (2021), Impact of Covid-19 in Albania, in Multi-dimensional Review of the We- stern Balkans Assessing Opportunities and Constraints, -- sites/933637d0-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/933637d0-en.
  40. Ministero della Salute albanese (2020), Ministria e Shëndetësisë: Konfirmohen dy rastet e para me koronavirusin e ri, --­e­shendetesise­konfirmohen­dy­ rastet­e­para­me­koronavirusin­e­ri/.
  41. M. Okólski (2012b), Transition from emigration to immigration. Is it the destiny of modern European countries?, in M. Okólski (ed.), European Immigrations. Trends, Structures and Policy Implications, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.
  42. M. Okólski (2012a), Introduction, in M. Okólski (ed.), European Immigrations. Trends, Struc- tures and Policy Implications, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.
  43. Iom-Unhcr (2020), Addressing Covid-19 Challenges Within The Migrant And Refugee Re- sponse In The Western Balkans – Project Factsheet, tmzbdl1401/files/inline­files/addressing­covid­19­challenges­within­the­migrant­and­refu- gee­response­in­the­western­balkans.pdf.
  44. Iom (2020), Assisting the frontline workers, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, 9 dicembre 2020, workers­migrants­asylum­seekers­and­refugees­throughout­covid­19­outbreak.
  45. Iom (2019a), The National Strategy on Migration and Action Plan 2019-2022, https://albania. Iom (2019b), Migrants having access to essential services,
  46. Iom (2015), Mapping Major Migration Flows Over the Territory of Western Balkan Countries, 2009-2013, ping%2520Major%2520Migration%2520Flows%2520over%2520the%2520Territor%252 0of%2520Wester%2520Balkan%2520Countries%252C%25202009.pdf
  47. Iom (2008), «Migration and Climate Change», Iom Migration Research Series, 31,­31_en.pdf.
  48. Instat (2021b), Foreigners in Albania, Press release, August 22, 2022, p. 6, http://www.instat.
  49. Instat (2021a), Asylum seekers in Albania, Press release, July 5, 2022, p. 6,­seekers­in­albania­2021.pdf.
  50. Instat (2020), Asylum seekers in Albania, Press release, July 5, 2021,­seekers­in­albania­2020.pdf.
  51. Instat (2019), Asylum seekers in Albania, Press release, August 21, 2020,­seekers­in­albania.pdf.
  52. Instat (2018), Foreigners and Asylum Seekers in Albania, Press release, August 22, 2019,­and­asylum­seekers­2018.pdf.
  53. Instat (2017), Foreigners and Asylum Seekers in Albania, Press release, August 22, 2018,­and­asylum­seekers­2018.pdf.
  54. Hungarian Helsinki Committee (2015), No Country for Refugees, Information note, https://helsinki. hu/wp­content/uploads/HHC_Hungary_Info_Note_Sept­2015_No_country_for_refugees.pdf. Hürriyet Daily News (2016), «Bulgaria to put more barbed wire along Turkish border, says PM», May 24,­turkish­border­says­pm­­99602.
  55. Human Rights Without Frontiers International (2016), Turkey: Murder of gay Syrian refugee raises further doubts over EU deal, turkey­murder­of­gay­syrian­refugee­raises­further­doubts­over­eu­deal.
  56. Human Rights Watch (2016), World Report 2016 – events of 2015,
  57. L. Guadagno (2020), «Migrants and the Covid-19 pandemic: An initial analysis», Migration Research Series, 60, International Organization for Migration (Iom), Geneva.
  58. Frontex (2022), Risk Analysis for 2022/2023,
  59. Frontex (2019b), Frontex launches first operation in Western Balkans, News release, 21 maggio 2019,­centre/news/news­release/frontex­launches­first­ope- ration­ in­western­balkans­znTNWM.

Shkelzen Hasanaj, La trasformazione delle rotte balcaniche: il ruolo delle istituzioni albanesi durante e dopo la pandemia globale Covid-19 in "SOCIOLOGIA E RICERCA SOCIALE " 130/2023, pp 108-123, DOI: 10.3280/SR2023-130006