EU Expansion Faces Hurdle: Germany Pushes for Reform Amidst Beleri Case

Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor

On the eve of the EU-Western Balkans Summit, removing the veto rule for certain stages of enlargement was requested. This comes as Greece has threatened to block the opening of the first chapter of negotiations with Albania without resolving the Beleri issue.

Scholz's call was applauded by many MPs in the German Parliament. He argued that the current system is too slow and cumbersome and that it is time for the EU to make a clear commitment to the Western Balkans.

"There is no need for every decision, such as the opening or closing of negotiation chapters, to depend on each member country," Scholz said. "If countries like Albania have made important reforms, this should be appreciated. Otherwise, there is a risk of damaging the entire membership process, and we should not allow this."

The Beleri issue is a complex one. Greece claims that the elected mayor of Himara, Fredi Beleri, threatens the rule of law and minority rights. Beleri has been in custody for seven months on "active corruption" charges for allegedly buying and selling votes.

Germany, however, sees the Beleri issue as a bilateral one that should be resolved between Greece and Albania. Scholz has emphasized this position several times, including during a recent visit to Berlin by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

It remains to be seen whether Scholz will be able to convince Greece to lift its veto. The EU-Western Balkans Summit is a key opportunity for progress, but the Beleri issue could overshadow it.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024