'Screams from a madhouse': Albanian PM scolds Britain over migration row

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 24, 2022. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

BERLIN, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Britain should look to Germany to learn how to cope with a wave of immigrants, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Thursday, chastising London for its depiction of Albanians arriving in the country via the English Channel.

"To single out a community and to talk about gangsters and about criminals, this doesn't sound ... very British, sounds more like screams from a madhouse," Rama said while praising Berlin's response to migration policy.

Britain has been consumed by a row over migration since interior minister Suella Braverman blamed a "surge in the number of Albanian arrivals" on young, single men who she said were part of organised criminal gangs.

Rama, who was attending a Berlin summit of Western Balkan nations hosted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, singled out Germany's handling of the million-odd migrants it received in 2015 as a model for Britain to follow.

"I never heard a German minister talking about Albanians as criminals," he said, standing on a podium alongside his host, and praised the "dignity" of Germany's approach. Fewer than 1% of Britain's Albanians were in jail, he added.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak moved earlier on Thursday to de-escalate the row, highlighting Albania's cooperation in tackling people smugglers.

"We have a strong relationship with our Albanian partners. We are grateful for the cooperation of the Albanian government and we remain fully committed to working together with them," the spokesperson told reporters.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Alex Richardson

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Thomson Reuters

Berlin correspondent who has investigated anti-vaxxers and COVID treatment practices, reported on refugee camps and covered warlords' trials in The Hague. Earlier, he covered Eastern Europe for the Financial Times. He speaks Hungarian, German, French and Dutch.