Published on: 01 June 2019

Press Release by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

In reference to the statement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic on 30 May 2019, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania regrets that the decision taken by an independent and constitutional institution, such as the Central Election Commission, has been contextualised as a deviation, or backtrack of Albania’s progress on the protection of minorities.

The situation surrounding the Albanian citizen Fredi Bejleri is clear. By a unanimous vote and pursuant to the applicable legislation, the Central Election Commission rejected his nomination in the upcoming local elections in Albania, referring to the fact that persons, who have been convicted by final decision of the Albanian courts, are for a 10-year long period prohibited by the Albanian election legislation to run for the post of the local government unit chairman.

As far as the observance of minority rights is concerned, the rule of law, as is also explained in the previous statements on the same topic, is in the interest of all the citizens of Albania, either Albanians, or representatives from the Greek minority or other minorities, without distinction, exclusion, or discrimination.

In Albania, the right of persons belonging to minorities to self-identify themselves as such, and their property right are guaranteed without discrimination. The exercise of all the electoral rights of the citizens belonging to minorities is equally guaranteed. On this basis, every Albanian citizen, belonging or not to a minority, has the right to turn to the Albanian courts as the competent bodies for interpreting the law in the Republic of Albania.

The Government of Albania is irrevocably committed to total reformation of the country in the interest of all the Albanian citizens’ well-being, and the consolidation of achievements in the five key priorities for integration into the European Union. The recent European Commission Report is the concrete evidence of such progress for the purpose of taking the next step, namely the unconditional opening of the accession negotiations.

Accordingly, we appreciate the solid and valuable support provided by Greece to Albania and to the entire region so as to help advance the European path, especially now in anticipation of the decision to be made soon by the EU Member States.

Strategic partnership and friendship between the two countries, as well as continuous dialogue over tackling the bilateral issues, including strengthening of the rights of the Greek minority in Albania and of the Albanian community in Greece, have been and remain a priority for the Government of Albania.

Albania strongly believes that elections, which are only based on the rule of law and the European political culture, are of vital importance to both countries.

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