The Greek Foreign Ministry released an announcement on the demolition of properties belonging to members of the Greek National Minority in Dhermi, Himara at Northern Epirus of Albania.
Greece is in favour of the European perspective of the Western Balkans, including that of Albania. But a condition for this European course is these countries’ adherence to European regulations and the principles of the rule of law. The violation of these principles by a candidate country means that, in reality, this country does not want its European course.
We stress that building rule of law and protecting minority rights – which is expressly linked to protecting the property rights of the members of minorities – have been set by the EU Council of Ministers as a sine qua non for the opening of Albania’s accession negotiations.
Unfortunately, violating every sense of the rule of law, the Albanian authorities today began demolishing tourism properties in Dhërmi, Himarë, owned by members of the Greek National Minority. This demolition was carried out in deviation from the provisions of Albanian law and before the final court rulings had been issued.
The fact that the demolitions were carried out in the middle of the tourist season, in spite of the legislative provisions prohibiting such activities during this period, confirms that Albania has not understood the demands of the EU Council of Ministers.
Greece and the EU have made clear the European demand that the rights of the indigenous National Greek Minority be safeguarded. The consolidation of the rule of law and the protection of the fundamental rights of minorities, including property rights, have been set by the EU as clear prerequisites for the opening of accession negotiations with Albania.