2000 citizens in Albania have been adjudicated to change their nationality from Albanian to Hellenic while many more are pending.
The Albanian Supreme Court was alarmed by the large number of the country citizens’ petitioning to change their nationality. The majority of the petitions come from the N. Epirus region and in particular from Argyrokastro, Ag. Saranda, Premeti and Korytsa .In effect they request that they be registered as of Hellenic nationality. Of smaller proportion are petitions for other nationalities such as for Bulgarian, in Goloborda (central-eastern Albania), for Montenegrin in the north-east while there are some petitions pending by a minority of Vlachs in Albania who are Romanian –oriented.
The state of Albania officially acknowledges three ethnic minorities: Greek, Slav-macedonian and Montenegrin in certain minority zones. In particular, eight Greek regions in the municipalities of Argyrogastro,, Ag. Saranda, and Delvino, one Montenegrin in Skodra and one “Slav-macedonian” in Devol. Approximately 250.000 Vlachs are registered as cultural Albanian minority while they are split into three groups, those who determine themselves of Greek, of Albanian and of Romanian origin.
Representatives of minorities in Albania disavow the Albanian state’s figures estimating their grand total to be around four of five times as large as that presented by the official state. In a census conducted before the communist regime’s in Albania had fallen (1990) Greeks of the 99 acknowledged Greek villages amounted up to 60.000 people without considering those living in Chimara, Korytsa , Premeti, Arta of Avlona, in the cities throughout Albania as well as the mixed marriages.
As a free census with a possibility to self-determining nationality and religious faith is impending to be conducted –consented to by political uprisings- during springtime the country’s nationalistic circles from the very start have been alarmed standing against such a census as they have been expressing fears about a factitious view of the minorities, mainly of the Greek one in the south of Albania, considering that a significant number of Albanian citizens would declare themselves as Greeks, with the view to benefit from the privileges and allowances N. Epirotans are granted by the Greek state. N. Epirotans in possession of the Special Fellow-countryman’s Identity Card amount up to 240.000.
The statements made by the Greek Consul General in Korytsa, during an event to honor “OMONOIA”(political organization of the Greek minority), suggesting that “not acknowledged” Greeks of Korytsa would dauntlessly declare their Greek origin have created a political issue and incurred storming reactions.
The Albanian Foreign ministry, obviously irritated, demanded explanations by the Greek Ambassador in Tirana while the deputy chairman to the Supreme Court started an investigation regarding all adjudications over change of nationality. Petitions came from non-acknowledged minority zones and mixed marriages. “OMONOIA” in the past had impeached judicatory circles in Albania that adjudicated in return of an over €2000 retainer.
Jerky reactions and pressure to all directions exerted by Albanians are not portending positive signs for a free and realistic census on population however no much space for maneuvers has been left due to the international actor’s embroilment and standing request. Whether Albania would rather take a step forward to Europe than choosing to maintain its habitual and familiar approach as in other respective cases remains to be seen….
(translated by SFEVA)