Greece – Albania Relations Tested by Minority Concerns

Bushati_venizelosRelations between Greece and Albania enter a shaky ground as Tirana’s upcoming administrative reform plans threaten the demographics of Greek minorities in Albania.

The main problem appears to stem from the changes planned in Chimarra, where there is a significant Greek minority. According to the Albanian government plans, the merger of provinces with Greek minorities with more distant provinces will alter national and religious balances. In addition, a recent nationalist resurgence in local media has complicated talks.

The Greek government argues that the particular merger does not have a practical purpose and presses for an amicable solution. The Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Evangelos Venizelos has tried to negotiate solutions on other thorny issues, such as maritime borders and zones, however the Albanian side appears reluctant.