Greece – Albania | First “block” due to the Beleris case
Defence Redefined
Published on 13/11/2023 at 09:01

A substantial escalation in the harsh stance towards Tirana due to the ongoing violation of the rights of the imprisoned mayor of Heimarra, Fredy Beleris, is shown by the decision of Greece not to consent to a joint letter of the 27 EU member states to Albania for the start of negotiations on the first accession chapters.

Although the way to proceed with the negotiations on the specific chapters with Skopje was decided upon, as Bulgaria accepted the compromise proposal submitted by the Spanish presidency, this was not the case for Albania.

Edi Rama’s government’s stance on the Beleris case, apart from its impact on Greek-Albanian relations, essentially changes the pace for the pair of candidates for EU membership.

It is recalled that the candidacies of Albania and Skopje are connected, therefore this development constitutes their practical decoupling.

As Kathimerini reports, the first package on the fundamental issues to be resolved by each candidate country includes five chapters, namely those concerning:

  • The judiciary and fundamental rights;
  • Justice, freedom, and security;
  • Public procurements;
  • Statistics;
  • Financial control.

Athens did not agree to a joint letter of the 27 EU member states to Tirana for the start of negotiations on the first batch of accession chapters. It is recalled that just a few days ago the progress report of the candidate states for EU membership was made public with an indirect yet unclear reference to the complications caused by the Beleris case in Greek-Albanian relations.

Also read: Greece | Albania’s accession will by no means proceed

It is obvious that Athens may revise its position if Tirana moves forward to indicate that there is room for discussion and not a show of force on the part of Mr. Rama, internally or externally. It is recalled that Athens has requested at all possible levels that Mr. Beleris be given the opportunity to be sworn in as the mayor of Heimarra, which has so far been rejected by the Albanian courts.

The next session of the court for corruption, where Mr. Beleris’ case is tried, will take place on November 22. In the meantime, however, a new trial is expected to be scheduled for the special permission he is requesting to take the oath. It has been decided to reconvene the special court (GJKKO) – designated by the Albanian judges as competent – in order to decide whether Mr. Beleris will be released from prison.

The last time the Albanian courts rejected such a request was on June 26, while multiple requests of Mr. Beleris’ lawyers to repeat such a process were rejected without much hesitation by the Albanian authorities.

The road is, of course, long until the process for Mr. Beleris is finalized, while next month the discussions at the European level on Albania’s progress will intensify.

Also read: Greece – Albania | Acceleration for submission of joint statement to the Hague – Albanian Foreign Minister tries to raise Chams issue




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