A presidential decree foreseeing Greece’s extension of its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea from 6 to 12 nautical miles has been submitted to the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, for a legal check, and will subsequently be signed by President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, making it law.
The decree was sent to the court last week following a visit by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to Tirana, where it was agreed that Greece and Albania will refer a dispute over their maritime borders in the Ionian Sea to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
In accordance with the provisions of the decree, the extension of Greece’s territorial waters will also be carried out north of Corfu, an area where Albania’s approach is different to that of Greece. However, the required adjustments will be carried out in good faith immediately after the court’s ruling, Kathimerini understands.
It is expected that the appeal by the two countries to the international court is unlikely to happen before parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in Albania in April. However, there might be a stumbling block. The signature of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is not enough to approve the joint agreement between the two countries. And diplomatic sources believe that the country’s President Ilir Meta may not approve the deal so as not to give Rama’s governing party carte blanche ahead of the elections.