The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras gave an interview for Financial Times where he also commented relations between Greece and Albania.
After praising the deal reached with his North Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev on the issue of the name, the Greek PM, says that “a logical next step would be to tackle the difficulties in Greek-Albanian relations, currently stalled after a promising dialogue opened in November 2017”.
Unresolved issues include maritime borders, the technical state of war that has existed between the two countries since 1945 and the status of Albania’s ethnic Greek minority. I think that now people are starting to see the benefits of the recovery Tsipras says he has explained to Edi Rama, Albania’s prime minister, that Tirana must better protect ethnic Greeks’ rights, or else the country’s path to EU membership will be closed. If Albania meets its human rights obligations, Tsipras says, “Greece — and I personally — will support a possible decision in June for Albania and North Macedonia to start their EU accession processes [together] . . . But we won’t endanger the accession process for North Macedonia, if it has made progress. That would be unfair.” Tsipras emphasises that Greece does not want to earn a reputation for lecturing others, throwing its weight around or setting excessively rigid conditions for countries aspiring to EU membership. “The peoples of the Balkans need some incentive for . . . reforms. It’s like the stick and the carrot. They have to have the carrot if everything is dark.” /ibna/