'Albania Undermining EU Accession Course'
Albanian Daily News
Published October 16, 2017
The Albanian Parliament approved the draft-law "On national minorities in the Republic of Albania" with 102 votes pro, according to the Assembly's agenda on Friday's plenary session. Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati, said that this law is an early commitment of Albania, a commitment that stems largely from its belonging to international institutions, from the membership in the Council of Europe, from the adherence of Albania to The Council of Europe's Framework Convention for Minorities, which is perhaps the most complete, most comprehensive document that deals with or addresses the rights of national minorities. On the other hand, Bushati emphasized the fact that this is a multi- year process, which has been subjected to the most qualitative international expertise.
Meantime, reactions came from the Greek party as well as from the Bulgarian party, after the adoption of this law in the Albanian Parliament. Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos sent a message to Albania Sunday from the island of Corfu where he attended the events commemorating the first governor of modern Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias, ANA-MPA reports.
"Ioannis Kapodistrias is the model of a major leader not only for Greece but for whole Europe. A model that among others had two characteristics: The vision and the total respect to the international law. This inspires us Greeks but it should also inspire those who have ambitions to join the European Union. And I say this mostly for our neighbor Albania. A friend with which we have always had good relations and supported its accession course. However, the attitudes of international opportunism as those we observe developing recently between Tirana and Pristina, unfortunately undermine its accession course. This is its responsibility. We will not remain idle before these attitudes. We owe it to Greece and to Europe," said Pavlopoulos.
Moreover, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexandros Yennimatas, made a statement in response to a journalist's question on the law on minorities passed by the Albanian Parliament. "Rather than safeguarding the rights of minorities in the country, based on European standards, the law on protection of minorities passed by the Albanian Parliament perpetuates the arbitrariness of the Hoxha regime. It is a step forward for existing and non-existent minorities and a step backward for the existing main minority of Albania."
On the other hand, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov commended the adoption of the minority law, which recognized for the first time the Bulgarian minority in the country. In a status on Facebook he said: "Historic breakthrough for Bulgaria. After 104 years, the Republic of Albania recognised the Bulgarian ethnic community in the country. We have made extraordinary diplomatic efforts to reach this success and protect the rights of Bulgarians who have been part of the formation of our people, but remain outside our current borders. Thank you to my friend - the prime minister of Albania Edi Rama, who kept his promise to Albania not to violate the interests of the Bulgarian community." He added that Bulgaria will support Albania's European integration, "where we see our true partner and close friend".

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