Greece sets up first barrier to Albania

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (r) talks with Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama during their meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, on July 11. [Dimitris Papamitsos/Prime Minister's Press Office]

Greece's decision not to agree to a joint letter of the 27 European Union member-states to Albania on the opening of negotiations of the first package of accession chapters constitutes a substantial escalation of the hard stance toward Tirana due to the ongoing violation of the rights of Fredi Beleri, an ethnic Greek who was jailed just before he was elected mayor of Himare in the neighboring country's local elections.

While a way forward for the negotiations on this chapter with North Macedonia was found, because Bulgaria agreed to the compromise offered by the Spanish presidency, this did not apply to Albania. 

In addition to the impact that Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama's government's stance in the Beleri case has had on Greek-Albanian ties, this development effectively decouples the two campaigns of North Macedonia and Albania, which until now hand been...

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