At risk of being marginalized

The easiest conclusion to draw after the cancellation of President Karolos Papoulias’s scheduled meeting on Tuesday in Tirana with his Albanian counterpart – following a heated demonstration outside the Greek Consulate – is that it was an error on the part of the Greek Foreign Ministry. But the mistake has come at a particularly tense time for our relations with certain Balkan states and at a time when we are seeing something of a discrediting of our country’s role in Balkan affairs. We still have the same old problems with Turkey, while the terms and conditions we seek to impose upon the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) keep leading to deadlock. And although our troops serve in Kosovo’s peacekeeping force, our advice is not sought regarding likely reforms in the province. Moreover, we now have the Tirana crisis to add to our problems. And we are at a risk of finding ourselves – and our «rights» – marginalized. About 10 or 15 years ago, we enjoyed clear superiority in the Balkans, as well as having the ambition to play a crucial role in transforming the region. Today, it is sad to see that we have frittered away our ambitions and superiority by exercising a foreign policy formulated to appeal to the domestic audience, not to effectively improve our international relations.

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