In a dramatic twist, Greece stands firm in thwarting Albania EU aspirations, wielding the fate of an imprisoned ethnic Greek mayor as a powerful bargaining chip. Reports suggest that during a recent meeting with the Council of Permanent Representatives of the EU (COREPER), Greece clarified that the release of Mayor Fredi Beleri was a non-negotiable precondition for Albania EU accession dreams.
Since October, the tension has reached new heights as Greece has adamantly refused to endorse the joint letter from the 27 EU member states, effectively stalling the initiation of accession negotiations with Albania. This strategic move by Greece has cast a shadow over the diplomatic landscape.
At the heart of the controversy is the arrest of Fredi Beleri, an ethnic Greek mayoral candidate in Himare, a picturesque Albanian coastal town predominantly inhabited by Greeks. Detained on vote-buying charges just days before local elections, Beleri’s subsequent election as mayor on May 14 only intensified the strained relations between Tirana and Athens.
The saga escalated when Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on May 15, issued a bold request, threatening to derail Albania’s EU bid unless Beleri was released. Mitsotakis underscored his country’s commitment to upholding the rights of ethnic minorities, turning the imprisoned mayor into a symbolic emblem of Greece’s stance.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama retaliated, accusing Greece of meddling internal affairs. The feud spilt onto the international stage when NATO foreign ministers convened in Oslo. During an informal meeting, Greek Foreign Minister Vasilis Kaskarelis seized the opportunity to confront his Albanian counterpart, Olta Xhacka, about the escalating tensions, shedding light on the complex web of ties between Tirana and Athens. The geopolitical drama continues, leaving the fate of Albania’s EU aspirations hanging in the balance.
Does Albania come under the European Union?
Albania is not a member of the European Union (EU). However, Albania has been a candidate country for EU membership since 2014 and has been engaged in accession negotiations with the EU. The progress of each candidate country toward EU membership is subject to various criteria and conditions set by the EU.
Are Albania and Greece allies?
The bond between Albania and Greece is more than just diplomatic; it’s woven through the fabric of history and culture. The vibrant presence of Albanian immigrants in Greece and the Greek minority in Albania is a living testament to these deep-rooted connections.
In the dynamic dance of international relations, Albania and Greece stand out as partners who maintain excellent diplomatic ties and engage in frequent high-level exchanges. Their alliance goes beyond borders, reflecting a shared commitment to standard political views about the Balkans and the global stage.
These two nations are not just neighbours but allies on the international stage. As proud members of prestigious organizations like the Council of Europe and NATO, they champion shared values and perspectives. Greece, in particular, stands as a robust advocate for Albania’s EU candidacy, pushing for integrating all Western Balkan states into the European Union through initiatives like the groundbreaking “Agenda 2014.
Who are the allies of Albania?
The main factors defining Albanian foreign policy are geopolitical location, population, economic crisis, and ties with the Albanian diaspora worldwide. It also maintains strong diplomatic relations with the EU (primarily Croatia, France, Germany, and Italy), Balkan countries (primarily Kosovo, Greece and North Macedonia), the Arab world, Canada, China, Turkey, Israel, India, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, UK and the United States.
What is the status of Albania in EU?
Get ready for a diplomatic rollercoaster because Albania is stepping into the limelight as a hot topic on the European Union’s enlargement agenda. The country made its move, throwing its hat into the EU membership ring back in 2009, and the journey has been nothing short of captivating.
Fast forward to June 2014, and Albania officially earned its stripes as an EU candidate for accession. In March 2020, the European Union gave the nod to open accession negotiations with Albania, setting the stage for a thrilling chapter in the country’s history.
Hold on, though! The plot thickened when Albania was in a diplomatic dance intertwined with North Macedonia. The road to negotiations hit a snag when Bulgaria threw a curveball and vetoed North Macedonia’s candidacy. Tension hung in the air until June 24, 2022, when Bulgaria’s parliament gave the green light, lifting the veto and reigniting hopes for EU accession talks with North Macedonia.
The drama reached its climax on July 16, 2022, as the Assembly of North Macedonia gave a resounding thumbs up to the revised French proposal, clearing the path for accession negotiations to kick off. It was a moment of triumph and anticipation as the starting gun was officially fired on July 19, 2022.
Now, Albania is in the company of seven other EU hopefuls, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. The journey has just begun, and the excitement is palpable as the country charts its course towards EU membership. Stay tuned for the twists and turns as Albania navigates the path to its European future. It’s a diplomatic saga you will want to take advantage of!