Albania and Greece, both members of NATO, continue to be in a state of technical war—a longstanding issue rooted in historical tensions that remain unresolved. This predicament goes back to October 1940 when Greece declared war on Albania following an Italian assault from occupied Albanian territory. Despite a friendship treaty inked in 1996, the state of war proposed for abolition by the Greek government in 1987 has never been ratified by the Greek parliament.
Relationship Strains and Lingering Disputes
These unresolved tensions extend to disagreements over maritime boundary delimitation and the property rights of the Greek minority in Albania. The persistence of this technical state of war exacerbates other disputes. One such issue is the demand for reparations for the Chams—an Albanian minority group expelled from Greece after World War II under accusations of collaboration with the occupiers. Resolving the state of war could potentially facilitate negotiations on these matters.
Recent Developments and Diplomatic Friction
In a recent turn of events, Fredi Beleri, a member of the Greek minority in Albania, was elected mayor of Himara. However, his arrest on allegations of vote-buying, which he refutes, has sparked diplomatic friction. Greece, accusing Albania of violating the rule of law and minority rights, has hinted at obstructing Albania's EU accession talks—a process that necessitates unanimous approval from all EU member states.
Fears and Hopes Amidst Tensions
Mutual distrust persists between the two countries, with Albania fearing potential territorial claims from Greece—a sentiment deeply ingrained in its isolationist communist history. Amid these tensions, individuals like Aljtin Mesini, an organic cheese producer in Permet, harbor hopes for peaceful and neighborly relations, looking forward to a future where the past is left behind.