9. Conclusion: Final Remarks
The Government seems to have played a constructive role in maintaining the nation’s generally positive record on the treatment of minorities. There are two main minority populations, ethnic Greeks and Macedonians. While no recent official statistics exist regarding the size of the various ethnic communities, ethnic Greeks are the most organized and receive the most attention and assistance from abroad.
The situation of ethnic Greeks in Albania has improved noticeably over the past two years (1997-1998). The Greeks’ major complaints under the government of the Democratic Party – cultural discrimination and lack of access to the electoral process– do not constitute a real concern for this group as of mid-1999. The cultural rights of the ethnic Greeks have been officially protected since 1997. At which time the Albanian Socialist government committed itself to a policy of providing opportunities for the ethnic Greeks “to be educated in their native language and to move freely wherever it is good for them” (Fatos Nano). The group’s political rights were fully exercised during 1996 and 1997 when their political party, the Human Rights Protection Party, took an active part in the Albanian elections, raising expectations for a wider scope of involvement in local government (1997).
Clearly, the future of the Albanian Greeks will be determined by the relationships between Berisha’s Democratic Party and the Albanian Socialist Party, as well as by the role that the ethnic Greeks will occupy in these relations. Also to be considered are the activities of neighboring Greece, which has advanced political, diplomatic, financial and military support to the Albanian Socialists, a traditional ally of the Greek minority. The Greek government’s support of the Albanian Socialists has had a major impact upon the internal balance of political forces in Albania.