Gov't on local elections in Albania; Schengen pact

Α foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday was queried over the weekend local elections in neighbouring Albania, as well as an upcoming European security conference in Athens and continuing discussions in the EU regarding the Schengen pact.
Briefing diplomatic correspondents in Athens, spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras merely noted that “Greece is closely monitoring municipal and local community elections in Albania, particularly, in the regions with a large ethnic Greek minority ... In general, last Sunday’s vote was held smoothly,” he said, while nevertheless noting that "there were certain irregularities and violent incidents recorded”.

Referring to the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania, Delavekouras underlined that this community's participation was increased, “proving that the ethnic Greeks of Albania preserve strong ties with their birthplace and care about its prosperity.”

Delavekouras also referred to a conference on European security, entitled “The Political-Military Dimension of European Security: Proposals and Perspectives”, to take place in Athens on May 17, co-hosted with Russia. He underlined that its main goal is holding a broad discussion on the role played in European security by Greece and Russia.

Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Alexander Grushko will deliver the opening addresses. Among the speakers will be politicians, diplomats, military personnel and researchers with extensive experience in European security issues, from Greece, Russia, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Ukraine.

Referring to the Schengen Pact discussion currently underway within the EU framework, Delavekouras stated that it can be improved, leading to a fairer distribution of the burden shouldered mostly by the countries on the external borders of the EU.

He underlined that the free movement of citizens must be safeguarded, adding that the asylum granting agreement can be amended, leading to the reform of the Dublin II Regulation.

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