The Greek Foreign Ministry warned neighboring Albania on Thursday that its European Union prospects were directly linked to respecting the ethnic Greek minority living within its borders.
It called upon Tirana “to return to a direction of progress rather than reversal, in order for its accession course to proceed.”
The statement referred to “condemnable methods” recently employed in Albania with the aim of “cancelling” the candidacy of the head of the Himare branch of the Omonia party in the upcoming municipal elections. These actions, it added, violated “the inalienable right of political representation of the Greek ethnic minority in the municipal elections in Himare.”
“Greece is working to improve bilateral relations with Albania and steadily supports its EU accession course, on the self-evident condition, which applies to all candidate countries, that it meets all the relevant requirements,” the statement said.
As is made clear in the European Commission’s report, the Greek ministry added, “respect for the rights of the Greek ethnic minority are directly linked to Albania’s European prospects and an inseparable part of the five Main Priorities for the start of the country’s accession negotiations with the EU, the fulfillment of which will be examined exclusively by the European Council.”
The statement notes that Greece expects “full protection of the minority’s right to self-determination throughout the territory of Albania, a measure that Albania had made a commitment to adopt by May 2018, and the implementation of the law on property, so that the members of the minority acquire the property deeds they are entitled to.”