Greece to set conditions for Albania’s opening of EU accession talks

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 30, 2019 09:51

Greece to set conditions for Albania’s opening of EU accession talks

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  • While in the case of Albania, Athens is expected to seek better protection of the rights of Greek ethnic minorities in accordance with international treaties and regulations.

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TIRANA, July 29 – Greek media ‘Kathemirini’ wrote on Monday that Greece won’t block Albania and North Macedonia’s EU accession road, but that it will set its own conditions regarding negotiations.

The article was written based on experts and sources close to the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. 

The commission has recommended opening EU accession negotiations with both states. However, it remains to be seen whether the Council will decide in favor of this recommendation in October.

“Greece will not say no to anyone. However, it will decide its terms,” said a source close to the Mitsotakis. 

Observers say Athens will demand that Skopje strictly implements the Prespa agreement.

While in the case of Albania, Athens is expected to seek better protection of the rights of Greek ethnic minorities in accordance with international treaties and regulations.

On June 20, the foreign ministers of the EU member states postponed the decision whether to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia in October, agreeing to the text that will be proposed to the heads of states who are to meet under the European Council meeting on June 20 to 21.

The decision postponement for fall was expected, as Germany is awaiting the evaluation of its parliament, and some skeptical countries like France and the Netherlands were not ready for a quick decision.

Perceived as one of Europe’s most corrupt countries, according to Transparency International, Albania has made limited progress in the fight against money laundering, despite dismissals of corrupt judges and prosecutors, EU and US officials say.

In Tirana, the Ambassador of the European Delegation, Luigi Soreca, through a Twitter post, commented on the position of member states, writing that in anticipation of the “clear and substantial decision” in October, it is now time for all institutions to follow up on focusing on the reform process, particularly on judicial reform.

However, experts have assessed the deadlock in which Albania finds itself since February, when the opposition gave up its parliamentary mandates claiming the Socialist government is closely tied with criminal gangs in the country and, seeking Prime Minister Edi Rama’s resignation, boycotted the June 30 local elections – which took place without an opposition and amid irregularities – have further ruined Albania’s chances at opening accession negotiations in October. 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 30, 2019 09:51