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Official Athens pressures on the "Beleri" issue, Germany "overthrows" Greece, demands that Albania's integration path not be interrupted
Written by Sidorela Braçja 28 Nëntor 2023
Germany has given a strong "slap" to Greece, regarding the blocking of the country's integration into the European Union, which the latter has warned if the "Beleri" issue is not resolved. The German Foreign Ministry has declared for the Greek newspaper "Ta Nea" that the integration path of Albania should not be interrupted. Regarding Albania, the chancellery and the German government believe that it is the country with the most steps towards EU membership and that this path should not be interrupted due to a "bilateralization" of the disputes with Greece regarding the Beleri issue. "In the case of the candidate for mayor in Himarë, Fredi Beleri, are currently being investigated by the Albanian authorities.
We have to wait for the current process in Albania. The Beleri issue should not be bilateralized and hinder Albania's EU membership. Determinant for Albania's EU membership process is exclusively the fulfillment of the membership criteria, including the "acquis" of the EU. It is important that this is also the point of reference for all member states in their decisions on individual steps in the accession process. "Bilateralization" of the membership process is not acceptable", the article states. According to the article, the Beleri case was discussed in the visit of Prime Minister Mitsotakis to Berlin and his meeting with Chancellor Scholz, not so much as it took up a lot of space in the talks between the two government delegations there. The main goal of the German government, the newspaper emphasizes, is to prevent the interruption of the Western Balkans membership process, due to conflicts with an already member country of the EU, beyond the fulfillment of the membership criteria itself.
A case of "bilateralization" is the current conflict between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, so the German government would not want the Beleri case to result in a "bilateralization" of Albania's accession process as well, if Athens decides to take specific bilateral measures against Tirana. For this reason, in the Beleri case, the German Foreign Ministry insists on the position that "bilateralization of the membership process" is unacceptable, says the newspaper, which however emphasizes that EU member states, including Greece, require membership as a criterion. the implementation of the rule of law and European law, which in the case of Albania is also related to the protection of the rights of the Greek minority.
The Greek Minister of State reacts
Meanwhile, the Minister of State of Greece, Savros Papastavrou, stated yesterday during an interview for "Sky" radio that the imprisonment of Fredi Beleri, the elected mayor of Himara, is not only a bilateral issue, but a European issue. "The issue of Beler is fundamentally European, not bilateral. It revolves around respect for the rule of law. If Mr. Beleri would not have been a member of the Greek ethnic minority or any minority, it is clear that Greece might not have expressed the same level of interest. However, as far as the EU is concerned, this should be seen as a European issue.
If an executive authority in any country has the ability to refuse to swear someone in based on personal preference alone, that poses a problem for Europe," he said. The Greek minister, who last week visited Beleri in prison, hinted that the lack of progress in this matter could have consequences for Albania's aspirations for EU membership. "It is clear that Greece constantly and unwaveringly supports the prospect of the European integration of the Western Balkans. We all benefit from Albania's European perspective, especially the Greek national minority. However, this integration path has some conditions and criteria", underlined Papastavrou.