Interviewed by Endri Xhafo for Albania’s ABC network, Ioannis Armakolas noted that Greece and Albania’s joint decision to take the issue of maritime jurisdiction zones to The Hague could open the door for improved bilateral relations with Albania, as well as leading the two people to view each other in a more positive light.
Armakolas was invited to comment on the results of the parallel opinion polls conducted in Greece by ELIAMEP, in cooperation with the Public Opinion Research Unit of the University of Macedonia, and in Albania by the Data Centrum Research Institute, in cooperation with the Open Society Foundation for Albania (OSFA).
He explained the findings of the two surveys, stressing that “the issues considered important by the Albanian public are not assigned the same weight by the Greek public, and vice versa. We need to begin with those issues that both societies consider significant, regardless of what their governments think”.
Since the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction zones between Albania and Greece is considered to be a significant issue by citizens in both countries, Armakolas considers the joint decision taken by the two governments to refer the issue to The Hague to be correct. There could also be a “legacy”, he notes, for the resolution of other pending bilateral issues, but primarily in the two peoples viewing their neighbours more positively than before.
He also said that other factors could also help bring this about—specifically, the Albanian immigrants in Greece and the Greek national minority in Albania who are already acting as “bridges” between the two societies.
Click to watch the interview, in Engish.