The Minister of Citizen Protection, Yiannis Oikonomou, participated yesterday Thursday in the “Berlin Process” Conference, which was held in Tirana, Albania with the participation of Ministers of the Interior, responsible for Citizen Protection, member states of the Process, as well as the Deputy Director-General for Home Affairs of the European Commission, Mr. Johannes Luchner.

During the Conference, Mr. Economou expressed Greece’s concern for the promotion of economic development, connectivity, security, reconciliation and good neighborly relations in the Western Balkans.

According to the relevant announcement of the ministry, Mr. Oikonomou, during his introduction, stated that the organization is an important step in the effort to strengthen regional cooperation, especially in the areas that include border management, the fight against organized crime and the partnership for cyber security in the Western Balkans.

“The Berlin Process undoubtedly serves as a benchmark for progress. Our discussions are not only focused on policies and strategies, but concern the future and the well-being of our citizens,” said Mr. Economou.

Referring to the integrated border management, the Greek Minister of Citizen Protection noted that dealing with illegal immigration is a condition for ensuring the internal security and stability of states and that Greece, which bears a large part of illegal immigration flows, gives particular importance in the security aspect.

Regarding regional cooperation in the fight against organized crime in the Balkan region, Mr. Economou focused on the coordinated action of the competent national, as well as international and European Services and, at the same time, on the development of cooperation between public and private entities, which have become critical requested to effectively combat the phenomenon.

At the same time, on the sidelines of the “Berlin Process” Conference, Mr. Oikonomou had a bilateral meeting with Mr. Taulant Balla, Minister of Internal Affairs of Albania.

“We discussed matters of mutual interest, focused on the field of security, as well as the cooperation we have developed in recent years, both in the fields of security and border management,” Mr. Oikonomou emphasized regarding the meeting and added that “at the same time , I put to my counterpart and the issue of the prolonged detention of the elected Mayor of Heimarra, Mr. Fredis Beleris, and, above all, the deprivation of his right to take the oath and exercise his duties as a democratically elected mayor, which, among other things, violates the presumption of innocence and is contrary to the European acquis, which is the most basic condition for the European perspective of the Western Balkans”.

Additionally, as part of his visit to the neighboring country, the Minister of Citizen Protection met with the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Albania, Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës and all Albania, Mr. Anastasio.

“We discussed issues that concern his flock and his area of ​​responsibility. His contribution to the Orthodox of Albania and his multi-faceted social work are widely recognized. His role in the reconstruction of the Church in Albania is of historical importance” noted Mr. Economou regarding the meeting.