Ioannis Armakolas talked to Thanos Davelis about the importance of the recent EU – Western Balkans Summit, which was hosted by a candidate member-state, Albania, for the first time, as well as about the messages Greek prime minister sent out about bilateral relations with his visit to Tirana.

Regarding the Summit, he was of the opinion that the EU had sent out important, primarily symbolic, messages with regard to an acceleration of the enlargement process, the provision of financial assistance, and the development of cooperation in various critical areas (such as energy, security and cyber-security) with the countries of the Western Balkans. However, he noted that priority now should be given to adequately explaining the many and important benefits accruing to EU membership for the peoples of the region, but also to the Union implementing all its good ideas in the immediate future and getting the process of the Western Balkans’ gradual European integration underway.

Further delays leave room for the political leaderships of the region’s nations to stop investing considerable political capital in the EU, and to not fully align themselves with its foreign and security policy, as in the case of Serbia.

Regarding bilateral relations with Albania, Armakolas stressed the need for Greece to demonstrate genuine and sustained interest in its neighbour, not only by resolving outstanding issues such as the delimitation of the EEZ, but also by engaging in a process designed to strengthen relations between the two societies at every level, to support the reform agenda, and to help Tirana stay on course for Europe. Only thus, he stressed, can Greece secure both its geopolitical interests and the Albanian prosperity that will benefit both countries.


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