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Albania’s PM Rama: UK must stop blaming us for ‘policy failures’

Criticism comes after UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman made remarks about ‘Albanian criminals.’

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama hit out at the U.K. government Wednesday, saying London must stop blaming Albanians for its own “policy failures” in a rebuke of what he suggested was “insane” reasoning by British Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

In a series of tweets, Rama said “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.”

Braverman stirred controversy Monday when she told the British parliament that if the opposition Labour Party “were in charge, they would be allowing all the Albanian criminals to come to this country.” She has also been under pressure at home over claims she broke the law by holding thousands of undocumented migrants in unsuitable conditions at a former military base in southeast England.

Around 12,000 Albanian nationals have crossed the English Channel in small boats this year, according to the government’s clandestine channel threat commander, Dan O’Mahoney. The rapid spike in people trying to cross the Channel in small boats has triggered a new sense of crisis in the U.K with the government failing to provide emergency accommodation and struggling to present a functional asylum and return system.

But Rama argued that most of the Albanians who move to the U.K. were already living in European countries like Italy and Greece beforehand, adding that “Albanians in the UK work hard and pay tax.” He called on London to “fight the crime gangs of all nationalities” instead of discriminating against Albanians “to excuse policy failures.”

The Albanian leader also argued that “Albania is a NATO country & is negotiating its EU membership. It is also a safe country of origin,” adding that the U.K. should act like Germany when it had similar migration concerns, rather than responding “with a rhetoric of crime that ends up punishing the innocent.”