Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis dubbed the issue of jailed Himare mayor-elect Fredi Beleri, – an ethnic Greek who won the municipal election in April but is prevented from taking the oath of office- a matter about “the Rule of Law” and not a bilateral dispute between Greece and Albania, after the conclusion of the European Union Summit in Brussels on Friday.

Speaking during a press conference, the PM touched on several topics ranging from the high cost of living and football violence to Greek-Turkish relations.

Expressing satisfaction with the consideration of Greece’s concerns, especially on immigration issues, Mitsotakis stated, “Significant additional funds for immigration were decided upon; unfortunately, we did not manage to agree on the revision of the multiannual financial framework.” He emphasized the importance of addressing immigration challenges but acknowledged the challenges in reaching a consensus on the budgetary framework.

Unanimous Decision-Making and Hungary’s Stance on Ukraine, Moldova

“All decisions in the European Council are made unanimously. I see no change in the decision-making process,” he said, adding that Hungary did not veto the Summit’s decision to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.

“Respect the Will of Himare’s Citizens” on Beleri Case

Addressing the Beleri case, Mitsotakis underscored its significance as a matter of the rule of law, stating, “the Beleri issue is a top-tier rule-of-law matter; it is not bilateral. We ask for recognition that he is the lawfully elected mayor. We do not interfere with Albanian justice,” while noting efforts to find a resolution that respects the will of the local citizens.

Responding to a question on measures against hooligan violence and public skepticism, as revealed in recent polls, Mitsotakis asserted that “When we make decisions, we do not gauge their popularity based on polls.” He highlighted the need for more assertive interventions in sports-related issues, acknowledging that the situation has reached a point requiring bolder actions.

On Greek-Turkish relations, the Greek premier stressed that the “Erdogan visit to Athens was another step toward building good relations, and the Athens Declaration is a significant milestone that outlines the next steps we want to take together.”

He emphasized the importance of mutual efforts to move forward collectively.