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European elections 2024

European elections

As of: May 18, 2024 6:20 p.m

A dispute over an arrest is straining Greek-Albanian relations. It's a few native politician who belongs to the Greek minority in Albania. The dispute additionally impacts the election to the EU Parliament.

The stadium within the Galati district of Athens is crammed to capability. Almost 7,000 Albanians got here right here final Sunday to see their Prime Minister. As he enters the stage, they chant his first title in unison.

On today, Edi Rama is well known like a pop star by the Albanians residing in Greece. But exterior this corridor, the Albanian Prime Minister is something however a welcome visitor. “I know that many people here in Greece are surprised by my visit. Some are even sad about it. Others say I shouldn't have come in the first place,” Rama stated in his speech.

Rama was alluding to the truth that many Greeks understand his go to to Athens as a provocation. The relationship between the 2 neighboring international locations is at the moment worse than it has been for a very long time.

Rami described his look in Athens as a “private visit.”

Controversy over a mayor

And that’s due to Alfred Beleri. He lives in Albania and belongs to the Greek minority there. Exactly a 12 months in the past, he was elected mayor of Himara, a coastal city populated largely by ethnic Greeks like himself.

But Beleri was arrested shortly earlier than his election and later convicted of electoral fraud in an Albanian courtroom. The imprisonment was a scandal within the eyes of the Greek authorities, because it nonetheless sees it as an act of discrimination towards the Greek minority in Albania.

Rami's supporters noticed a message in his efficiency – and celebrated him.

Mitsotakis ergreift Partie

For a number of months, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis known as on the Albanian authorities to launch Beleri and threatened to make the case a European problem. “The whole thing will have a significant impact on Greek-Albanian relations, but it will also have an important impact on the path that Albania wants to take,” Mitsotakis stated in an interview late final 12 months.

Mitsotakis was barely audible in suggesting that Greece might block the beginning of negotiations for Albania to affix the EU. It is a menace that the Albanian authorities has to date hardly responded to.

Instead, Prime Minister Rama has repeatedly emphasised previously that his nation is a constitutional state with an impartial judiciary. And there seems to be no purpose for the EU to take up the case both.

The dispute continues to escalate

A month in the past, Mitsotakis took the subsequent step and named Beleri because the European election candidate for his conservative New Democracy celebration. From the attitude of politics professor Panagiotis Jogakidis from the University of Athens, this was a transparent try by the Greek authorities to attract worldwide consideration to the case.

However, I don't suppose this can be a notably sensible transfer. Greece ought to facilitate Albania's path to the European Union and in addition the trail of all Western Balkan states. This is the one method to make sure stability, democracy and prosperity all through the area – and must be the main target of Greek politics. First Europe, then make clear the bilateral issues.

An look on a symbolic day

The Albanian Prime Minister apparently sees it that method too. On the anniversary of Beleri's imprisonment, Rama additionally addressed the Greek folks throughout his look in Athens. “Let's not become enemies, let's not fight! Haven't we already been through enough hardship and tyranny? Long live Albania! Long live Greece! Long live democratic Europe!”

The European anthem rang by means of the corridor. Albanian flags and EU flags had been flying. Europe appeared inside everybody's grasp right here. But with out Greece's help, Albania might have a tough path to the EU.

Irini Bafas, BR, tagesschau, May 14, 2024 8:58 a.m