The EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn made a very controversial official statement during a press conference that will bring a diplomatic quake on the relations between Greece and Albania as well as on the internal affairs of both countries.
More specifically, Johannes Hahn stated that:
“I think we have seen some statesmanship, for instance, if it comes to the negotiations about the name issue, also most likely if there is an agreement between Albania and Greece, because what is there is about restructuring of borders and this is always something which is very crucial and critical for citizens”.
The Greek government has not issued any official answered the commissioner’s shocking statement.
What is certain is that this issue is going be at the center of the political debate in the following days, as those inside Greece who express their concern about the Greek government’s moves increasingly talk about “secret diplomacy”.
The ones that are especially worried about the way the Greek FM Nikos Kotzias is handling the negotiations with Albania are the members of the internationally recognized indigenous Ethnic Greek minority in Albania, that resides in the southern part of the country, also known as Northern Epirus.
They fear that the “velvet ethnic cleansing” they are been subjected to by the Albanian governments will continue as they believe that they will be abandoned yet again by Greece, on the ground of “higher diplomacy”.
UPDATE: The European Commission’s press secretary, after the initial shock from mr. Hahn’s statement attempted to put things in order by saying that the commissioner was not referring to borders but to the negotiations on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between the two countries.
However, the explanation is not convincing as the “EEZ” and “borders” are two completely different terms.