Albania’s EU membership depends on treatment of Greek minority, says Ministry 2

Following the EU Commission’s recommendation for EU membership talks for Albania, Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday warned its Balkan neighbour that its EU prospects were directly linked to respecting the ethnic Greek minority within its borders, calling upon Tirana “to return to a direction of progress rather than reversal, in order for its accession course to proceed.”

The Ministry’s announcement 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. It noted that these actions 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 announcement said.

As is made clear in the European Commission’s report, the announcement 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 foreign ministry noted 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.”

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