Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama apologised to his counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis over comments made about Greece during an interview with EURACTIV, Greek media reported.
Previously, in an interview with EURACTIV’s Alice Taylor in Tirana, Rama said candidate countries should not treat satisfying EU accession criteria like cheating on a test, naming a “neighbouring country”, which, when pressed, he said was “Greece”.
The comments soon went viral across Greece, and the Albanian prime minister addressed the issue during a bilateral meeting between Rama and Mitsotakis at the EU-Western Balkan Summit in Tirana.
“I’m sorry for something I heard, that I said some strange things about Greece, about how it achieved some things – we’ll go back to the time of Troy perhaps – but it’s not something that concerns the present, and it didn’t in any way concern today’s Greece,”
In the interview with EURACTIV, Rama also said, “we should not forget that the integration process is an individual-based, merit-based process. We have to fulfil homework criteria standards. And it’s not an exam to be cheated.”
He added that Greece had “Got money from Europe, lived a period of opulence, and then ended really bad.”
Rama’s statement triggered strong reactions, with many describing the comment offensive, especially ahead of a bilateral visit between the two leaders.
According to media reports, Mitsotakis said Greece fully backs Albania’s EU path and that the two countries are close to solving the issue of the delimitation of maritime zones.